On how women can stand out in business: “Don’t allow themselves them be regulated to what the business dictates or what the man dictates. I sometimes think our ceilings are self-inflicted. We subscribe to that sh**, we start to internalize and believe it and it becomes so. I never sat in the room and felt intimidated by the men there because I’ve always had a clear sense what I had to offer. Any situation I’ve been involved with, anything I have to offer, is uniquely mine. It’s not because I’m a woman but it’s because of my mind and how my mind works and what my thought process is. That’s not gender based. There are a lot of things about being a woman that work for us but we have to learn how to use that as our advantage as opposed to allowing that to be our disadvantaged.

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Unbeknownst to many, the showrunner serves on the board of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve the well-being of girls.

Taylor Lewis
Mar, 18, 2016

Mona Scott-Young is either one of the most loved or hated woman behind some of today’s biggest shows.

The showrunner, who has been on the entertainment circuit since the 1990s, has brought us hits like the Love & Hip Hop franchise as well as the short-lived Sorority Sisters. Though some say that her portrayal of Black women is anything but positive, Scott-Young refuses to apologize for her choices.

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“I want us to be represented in every shape and form—the good, bad, ugly—because I feel only with full acceptance of everything that comes with us will we ever really embrace ourselves and love ourselves fully,” she said in the April issue of ESSENCE. “When we are still hiding and ashamed of a piece of who we are, we can never fully become who we are supposed to be.”

And, despite the criticism she has received from those that say she is perpetuating the stereotype, she says that those shows don’t define her or represent her own personal beliefs. As a matter of face, she has two more shows in the work, one of which is as WEtv program that profiles Black female attorneys, and she also serves on the board of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to build the well-being of young girls. 

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“Sometimes I hope that with that work starting at that age, maybe they’ll never end up across from me for a casting,” she said of GrassROOTS Community Foundation. “I am always trying to provide opportunities that will allow them to live a different life. But how do we get to these women prior to that?"

For more from Mona Scott-Young, pick up the April issue of ESSENCE, on newsstands now!