Washington’s biggest blackest Scandal fans were beside themselves when it came to the hit drama’s season finale Thursday night. They include Marion Barry, TV One’s Roland Martin, author/blogger Sophia Nelson and more. Barry, unfortunately, had a slow night. He usually tweets the crap out of this show. But where he bailed, other loyal watchers picked up his slack.
What made this show pointedly emotional for black fans was that writer Shonda Rhimes went all in for the shock factor when she had the very black Rowan Pope (father of crisis manager Olivia Pope who’s sleeping with the President) call the pale white President “boy” to his face. She also had the President tell Rowan that his daughter tastes good, but that’s a whole other matter. The finale was drowning in racial overtones. But the “boy” moment cinched it all. In the end, Jake Ballard (Olivia’s other white love interest) takes Rowan Pope‘s job at the B613 counterterrorism agency.
(For those who don’t watch, you should be ashamed of yourselves. None of this will make sense to you. But if you must follow along here, Rowan Pope is Olivia Pope’s – Kerry Washington – possible sociopath father. This would be for you, Mediaite editor Josh Feldman, who wrote this on Twitter Thursday night: “Someone sell me on Scandal, because everyone is obsessed with this show and I don’t get it.” Feldman, just stop while you’re behind and take your white Jewish ass off Twitter when Scandal is on.)
Speaking of white journalists who don’t get it. There’s BuzzFeed‘s McKay Coppins, who doesn’t appear to comprehend the attraction between the gorgeous black crisis manager Olivia Pope and the attractive for Washington white leader of the free world Fitzgerald Grant. “I’ve only watched a few eps of Scandal, but does it ever become believable that Olivia Pope is in love with that terrible, gangly president?” Coppins remarked on Twitter. BuzzFeed‘s own white publicist Augusta Mellon replied, “You take that back McKay Coppins.”
Meanwhile, the black journalists went wild.
“Uh, oh, Papa Pope! @JOEtheMORTON. Fitz is about to get up in ya grill! @ScandalABC #Gladiators,” cracked TV One’s Roland Martin, a regular tweeter of the show. Washington Post‘s new gossip writer Helena Andrews: “WOW!!! Rowan calling Fitz a ‘BOY’ like 50-11 times is too much. So much history behind that word.
#Scandal … And I told ya’ll James would stick around. He’s like the girl on Maury whose man got 5 baby mamas talkin bout ‘But I LOOOOVE him!'” And Sophia Nelson: “This BOY dialogue is @shondarhimes at her brilliant best. I mean we are truly in the 21st century. Black man calls POTUS Boy! #ScandalABC.”
Washington Post lefty op-ed columnist and MSNBC Contributor Jonathan Capehart couldn’t contain himself. “Holy Smokes! Papa Pope is READING the President. #Scandal”
Asked for further commentary on the finale what he thought of the white president being called “boy,” Martin wrote The Mirror by email: “It was not lost of many of my Twitter followers to see a Black man essentially chained to a chair (handcuffed), stripped of his clothes (no jacket, shirt and tie) and to see him upbraid and degrade the white president by chastising him by calling him boy eight times. Morton was vicious in his take down saying, ‘As a Black man I had to work hard to get to where I am while you benefitted from white/rich privilege.’ It was said loud and clear without having to say it loud and clear. But you could also look at it as a grown man belittling another man as nothing but a little child. It all depends on the lens by which you viewed the scene. Absolutely brilliant writing by Shonda Rhimes and her cast of writers.”
Nelson, too, was ecstatic about the racial storyline. “Shonda Rhimes continues to push the envelope in ways that are amazing,” she told The Mirror in a phone interview the morning after the show aired. “She has a handsome white young president sleeping with a young black woman and they’re really in love iwth each other. So she takes all these general notions and stereotypes and turns them on their head.”
She continued, “You have all these notions of race and sexuality — you have a gay couple. Last night was deep because Fitz is a weak guy. He’s the president, but he’s jelly with Olivia. He’s mush with her. He’s just so in love. He’s like this love sick puppy. Last night it came full circle because Rowan had a chance to talk to Fitz one on one. Fitz’s sense of entitlement – black people just like Jewish people, Italian people, we all have these inside conversations, they’re cultural – it was exactly how black men, particularly of Rowan’s age, of his generation, see spoiled privileged white men. George Bush had that label.”
Nelson explained what Rowan was thinking as he berated POTUS. “In this instance, Rowan was [saying] how dare you, you arrogant white spoiled baby, you have no idea what it means to be black in America, you have no idea what it means to work for something. As black people we had to work for it. the boy colloquialism is from the Jim Crowe days. I’m not so sure Shonda Rhimes meant it in the racial context, but it was more like ‘you’re a boy, you’re a spoiled brat, you think you can have my daughter, you can’t even touch my daughter’s dust. You’re only sleeping with my daughter because your father would’ve been driven nuts.'”
Nelson said “the great checkmate” came when “the boy” as in Jake got the last word because he took Rowan’s job.
Let’s take a look at other Twitter commentary from black journalists.
More from Roland: “A matter of national security is above the president’s pay grade? Papa Pope is straight ignant. @ScandalABC#Gladiators. …Uh, oh! NEW THE LINE OF THE NIGHT: “You are a boy! I am a man!”
@JoeTheMorton is going IN on @tonygoldwyn! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!”
CNN and ABC’s Donna Brazile: “Behind on
@ScandalABC, but this show is deliciously good. Hulk is not sorry. If it wasn’t for Olivia… #Gladiators minus one. …The strategist moment: Olivia and that big glass of red wine. #ScandalABC. Okay.”
American Urban Radio White House Correspondent April Ryan: “
#Scandal blood splatter on the face can’t take it. …” #scandal come on too much blood today and yuk. who can pull something out of their mouth.”
And sadly, just this from D.C. councilman Marion Barry: “Who’s getting ready to watch