Every Thursday (when it would air), I would run to the Thai restaurant near my house or order a large cheese pizza with bacon stuffed crust and grab my chalice and whatever wine I was drinking that night. Everyone knew, Thursday nights were Shonda nights. I would sit curled up on my sofa, wig off, and would stare at the TV for three hours. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and then How To Get Away With Murder. This was the routine and everyone plus their mama knew not to disturb me. Then Scandal was over.
I didn’t know what to do anymore. HTGAWM was on hold, Grey’s was still coming on (this show won’t end until the trumpets sound and Jesus comes back to earth), but Scandal was done. If you know me personally, you know I left London to go to America and become a baby gladiator. I wanted to wear a white hat, own my own OPA and work in politics. I wanted to handle all the mess that came with it whilst slaying in Zara coats and Iriza Louboutins. The show that had given me a sense of capital and identity was over, but I knew my life in crisis management was going to begin.
Before discussing the powerful women leads in Scandal, I would like to thank Kerry Washington for portraying the character Olivia a Pope so well, Shonda Rhimes for snatching my edges every Thursday night and Judy Smith (the real life Olivia Pope) for exposing another job field that people may not have known about.
There are so many powerful women in Scandal and my favs were: Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), Mama Pope (Khandi Alexander), and of course Olivia Carolyn Pope.
Quinn may have had the best character development. She taught us how to stay true to ourselves. Quinn couldn’t see the potential others saw in her but she grew remarkably and proved herself to be intelligent, savage and loving. From taking over OPA, joining B613, and learning how to code, Quinn still had a heart. She never lost sight of her purpose and remained faithful to those around her.
President Mellie Grant
Mellie Fitzgerald-Grant was one of the strongest female characters; sis was publicly cheated on, lost a child and had her legacy threatened multiple times. Mellie became the first female president and found strength in that. When men tried to belittle, overrule and discredit her, Mellie never backed down and her heart remained pure. Her voice commanded respect. A true queen.
Mama Pope (Maya Lewis)
Listen. This woman was the best female character in the whole show and she was just a recurring character. I love her. I stan her. Maya Lewis was the most gangster woman ever. Her monologues were always wonderfully executed and she was my thoughts personified. As crazy as she was, she spoke facts! Her monologue on season 6 episode 16 (Tic Toc) snatched all my edges. The monologue conveyed the strength of a black woman and how selfless they are, even when they are underappreciated.
Olivia Carolyn Pope ran Washington, DC. Not only did she handle every national crisis, she gave us looks. Liv had coats for days! Her hair was always laid, her apartment was always clean and she had the best suits ever. Even though I hated Olivia for a good three seasons (ironically, I hated her as soon as I left London) she still inspired me greatly. In a predominately white environment, she was so well respected and everyone either needed her or were threatened by her. That was black girl magic.
I loved this series so much because it was a different depiction of a black woman. Olivia was not crazy, a baby mama or someone who was struggling financially. She was an upper middle class woman which a great career. It was refreshing. This series will forever be revolutionary-Kerry Washington was the first black woman to lead a series on prime time TV. This type of representation did not exist when Scandal first came out. Shonda Rhimes created a character that we didn’t always love, which made it real. There were so many lessons learnt, different insights and morals. My life was stagnate before I watched Scandal and it’s crazy that a show could make me move to another country, but I have found myself and my purpose. I wouldn’t be launching my own PR company if not for show; I would still be in London trying to figure it all out.
Written by Tolu Sarah Martins