Every Thursday night, my Facebook newsfeed overflows with posts about Shonda Rhimes’ new hit television series, Scandal, now in its second season on ABC. Like black women all over America, I wait with bated breath to see what Fitz, the President of the United States, will do to win back the love of his life, political strategist and crisis management maven, Olivia Pope. At 10 o’clock Eastern Standard Time, the wait is over and I go radio silent for the next hour. No texts, no Tweets, nothing. I am still convinced that I heard an audible, swoon-laden sigh exhaled by black women all across the nation when, after summoning Olivia to meet him in the middle of the woods during a hunting trip, Fitz stooped down to lace her boots while standing in front of the Secret Service, not caring what anyone saw or thought.
The forbidden love affair between Olivia and Fitz has become the topic de jour in many of my social circles. During one recent “recap” session, a friend made the very surprising statement that her brother believes black women are in love with Scandal because we all secretly want a rich white man with power to sweep us off our feet. I laughed, disagreed profusely and countered that if anything, all white men secretly want a sistah by their sides, or at least in their beds. But then other women in the group began to share their experiences with dating successful white men.
The consensus seemed to be that these women felt more appreciated by their white lovers than they had when dating black men. Many of them explained that they felt this way because the white men they had dated were not intimidated by the ambition or success they they’d experienced in their lives and careers. As I listened, I wondered whether my friend’s brother was actually on to something: were we all secretly waiting for our white knight in shining armor to rescue us from singledom?
But, as the conversation progressed, it became increasingly clear that race had nothing to do with what the women really wanted in a relationship. They wanted security and reciprocity. They wanted to feel safe. They needed the freedom to express themselves fully in their professions as well as in the bedroom. They wanted support, to feel beautiful, and to know that when times get hard, they have a man who has their back as much as they would if the situation were reversed. When we got right down to it, they were seeking unconditional love, just as we all do. What they really wanted was for someone to accept them without question, and that is a basic right that transcends, race, age, or gender.
So to answer the question as to why black women are so in love with Scandal, it is because we too want someone who will risk everything to hold our hand for just one minute, call just to hear us breathe, and tie our shoes when needed. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Ms. Rhimes, and her team of amazing writers, create plots filled with endless twists and turns! And if sistah can get her fill of being in love with love and add a little spice to life in 60 minutes on an a weeknight, what isn’t there to love about Scandal?