"How To Get Away With Murder" Normalizes Diversity

"How To Get Away With Murder" Normalizes Diversity

Prime time is changing for the better.
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"How To Get Away With Murder" is shattering barriers for women, minority, and LGBTQ representation in mainstream media. Groups that are typically shoved into ensemble roles (or in many cases, not even on the screen at all) finally have an outlet where they can show their expertise as actors, capable of keeping viewers hooked.

Created by Peter Nowalk and produced by Shonda Rhimes, "How to Get Away with Murder" captivated audiences all across the nation when it premiered last fall. Reviews are largely positive, averaging about 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the critical consensus from the same website reported, that it “delivers thrills with melodramatic twists and a captivating lead.”

In less than two years, 20 different award ceremonies have honored the cast and crew with nominations and wins, including a GLAAD award for Outstanding Drama Series, three NAACP Image Awards, and a People’s Choice Award and Golden Globe nomination for Viola Davis in particular.

In addition, it even gave Davis a platform to become the first African American woman to win an Emmy for Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series. But why is "How to Get Away with Murder," known among its fans as HTGAWM so popular? And what does it tell us about audiences watching it?

“Over the course of its first season, HTGAWM has pummeled boundaries when it comes to how diversity, especially in sexual orientation and race, is portrayed on TV—the effects of which we can’t even start to measure now,” reported The Daily Beast in February. “No broadcast television series is doing more for diversity in prime time than this one.”

Annalise Keating, portrayed by Viola Davis on the show, is a tough-love law professor and the head of her own firm, who has chosen five students to help her with cases outside the classroom. While they try and solve other people’s cases, they get caught up in their own web of romance, bloodshed, and deceit. It’s a tangled network with uncertainty and the twists and turns are just as unexpected for the audience as they are for the characters.

Not only does the show feature a racially diverse cast, "How to Get Away with Murder" also explores sexuality in a far more fluid and nuanced way than other shows. Keating has relations with her white husband, her black, male lover, and a white woman.

A bisexual character on a show is rare; a bisexual lead character on a show is almost unheard of. GLAAD, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a media monitoring organization founded by LGBTQ people in media, released its “Where We are on TV” report for 2014 and said that out of 813 primetime broadcast series, 3.9% of the series regulars will be LGBTQ.

"How to Get Away with Murder" has two gay leads, a bisexual woman lead, a lesbian reoccurring character, and that doesn’t even include the diverse cast of supporting characters.

Audiences are tired of the straight, white hegemony, and want shows that reflect the issues of today: representation of minorities as whole characters rather than stereotypes, and LGBTQ representations that treat characters with the same sexual freedom and visibility as straight characters.

"How to Get Away with Murder" is changing television and reinventing who we see as prime time leads.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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21 Things You Would Only BEGIN To Understand If You Are A Swimmer

Chlorine really is your perfume.

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Swimmers are a special type of breed.

Not many people would voluntarily wake up at ungodly hours of the morning to jump into a pool that feels like ice water just to stare at a black line in the bottom of the pool for two hours.

Here are 21 things that only swimmers will understand.

1. You have to set at least five alarms to wake up in the morning.

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You know all too well that you need at least five alarms to wake you up for practice in the morning; because you know that if you do not your coach will personally call you to yell at you for not being at practice, and nobody wants that wake-up call.

2. You have accepted that chlorine is your perfume.

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No matter how many times you shower or however many body washes you use, you will still smell like chlorine. Even whenever you sweat it smells like chlorine. You have gotten used to everybody making a weird face and asking "what is that smell" whenever you enter a room.

3.You have mastered the art of the "deck change"

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Let's face it we have all been in situations whenever we were running late, so we had to "deck change". You have also used this technique in places like the gym class locker room and had everybody amazed that you could change clothes without ever taking the original clothes off until you had already changed.

4. You have worked as a life guard at least once in your life.

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Just face it, you can't stay away from the pool no matter how hard you try, so you got a job watching other people swim. You also definitely secretly judged the other lifeguards that were not swimmers.

5. Having permanent google/ cap lines on your face.

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There is nothing like going to take a selfie after practice only to find the bright red marks going across your forehead and around your eyes.

6. Taking ten or more minutes to put on a tech suit.

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Only swimmers can understand the struggle of trying to put on an article of clothing that is purposely five sizes too small for at least ten minutes. All of the pain and suffering of shoving your body inside the suit is then rewarded by that 0.01 of a second you dropped in your race.

7. Having weird shaving schedules.

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You were told when you were and were not allowed to shave by your coach so you could get the right taper, and have the least amount of "drag" before your race.

8. Food, in general.

Over your years as a swimmer, you have learned that you can, in fact, eat a whole large pizza by yourself. You have also had some weird looks from the servers at Olive Garden after your second basket of bread sticks and second bowl of pasta.

9. You physically cannot run.

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Over the years your body adapts to always being in the water so whenever you then try to run; you just can't.

10. The pain of hitting your hand on the lane line.

To an average person, the lane line looks like the least intimidating part of the pool; swimmers, however, see it as a thing to avoid at all costs Hitting your hand on the lane line is the swimmers equivalent of stepping on a Lego.

11. You know multiples of 25 better than anybody else.

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You do not even have to think when somebody asks how much 13x25 is, you know the answer is 325.

12. Top and Bottom mean something completely different to you.

On the top means on the 60 or 00. On the bottom means on the 30. (when the pace clock reads :30, :60, or :00).

13.You have gotten very good at telling stories in small increments.

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You have mastered the art of telling ten seconds of a story swimming to the other side of the pool and then continuing the previous story for another 10 seconds, repeating this cycle until the story or set has finished.

14. You never want to have practice on your birthday.

Birthday swims are the worst thing ever invented. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to celebrate somebody's birthday by making them swim butterfly while being splashed in the face by your entire team every time you try to breathe.

15. Butterfly is not a peaceful animal.

Butterfly is arguably the worst, most tiring stroke that can be swam.

16. Meet warm ups have trained you for the apocalypse.

Meet warm-ups truly are every man for themselves. I have personally been scratched, kicked, and bitten during meet warm-ups.

17. Taper

The one week where you do not want to skip practice.

18. You do not know how to have fun at a public pool.

Every time your friends ask you to go to a pool with them you just end up trying to race everybody at the pool, or just practicing dives and flip turns.

19. You have also mastered water polo.

Coaches would have you play water polo as a fun game but soon it turned into an all-out war and more of a workout than a normal practice.

20. Thunderstorms are your favorite weather phenomena.

You always know whenever it is about to storm, and you always make sure your coach knows too.

21. The bruises you get from the pool.

You know the pain of going to a pool with a high gutter and just knowing you are going to leave with at least three new bruises on your legs.

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