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Year of Yes

How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

By Shonda Rhimes
10-minute read
Audio available
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes (2015) passes on the lessons learned by one of the leading women in entertainment today. These blinks take us on a journey with Shonda Rhimes – from childhood passions to college aspirations, professional successes to personal challenges. Learn why it’s crucial to say yes to the new and unknown!

 

  • Fans of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal
  • Recent college grads unsure of what to do next
  • Aspiring television writers and creatives

Shonda Rhimes is the award-winning creator and producer of the critically acclaimed television shows Scandal, Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy. Rhimes, who changed entertainment history by pushing for black female leads in mainstream television, is a pioneering black female showrunner.

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Year of Yes

How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

By Shonda Rhimes
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
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Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Synopsis

Year of Yes (2015) passes on the lessons learned by one of the leading women in entertainment today. These blinks take us on a journey with Shonda Rhimes – from childhood passions to college aspirations, professional successes to personal challenges. Learn why it’s crucial to say yes to the new and unknown!

 

Key idea 1 of 6

The author is a feminist, sister, mother and lifelong storyteller.

As a child growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Rhimes’s favorite hobby was playing pretend, which in her case meant hiding away in her mother’s pantry to invent stories and characters for all the non-perishable food items. In her head, cans of yams ruled the green beans and the tomato paste plotted to overthrow their regime. Rhimes’s powerful imagination could bring a shelf of cans to life, transforming them into tyrannous monarchs and mutinous citizens. She still reminisces about this in interviews today!

It’s not so hard to deduce: young Shonda was introverted. Shy, yet deeply creative, Rhimes fondly recalls how she would smuggle books outside when her mother forced her to go out and play.

Rhimes has been a storyteller as long as she can remember. This passion, combined with her fiercely competitive nature, carried Rhimes through Dartmouth College to USC Film School, all the way to her current role as director of her own television production company, Shondaland.

Shows created by Rhimes were part of the vanguard of television featuring women of color as protagonists. Rhimes remarked that, 50 years ago, a black woman from a middle-class background – a person like herself – would have been serving Hollywood television executives food in the boardroom, not running her own TV shows and company.

Rhimes has a name for highly successful people (such as herself) who were raised non-white and non-male: FODs, which stands for first, only, different. But how did Rhimes get to where she is today? By seizing opportunities, keeping her options open, learning continuously and delving into the process of becoming her own being.

In college, Rhimes was determined to become the next Toni Morrison, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Thankfully, Rhimes soon realized she had to chase her own dreams, not walk in the footsteps of someone else. Funnily enough, when Rhimes later had dinner with Toni Morrison, Grey’s Anatomy was all the Nobel Laureate wanted to talk about!

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