Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee Ellis Ross is an amazing American actress, comedian, model, director, and television host. She is the daughter of Diana Ross, who is African American, and Robert Ellis Silberstein, who is White. She is best known for her lead role as Joan Clayton in the comedy series Girlfriends (2000–2008) and Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the comedy series Black-ish (2014–present). Growing up the daughter of famous parents gave her many opportunities that most would not have had.
She began her career as a model in her teens and then attended Brown University where she majored in theatre. She has starred on film and TV and has received numerous awards. She has received several NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Actress for her role in Girlfriends. I have known her most from her work on the television show Black-ish. Through her work on Black-ish she has won three NAACP Image Awards, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, and three Primetime Emmy Awards for Lead Actress. In 2015, Ross was awarded an honorary doctorate of fine arts by Brown University.
Throughout her career she has made an impact in the African American community and wasn’t afraid to talk about touchy subjects and bring it to her work. Her nomination in 2016 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series was the first for an African-American woman in that category in 30 years. Just recently she directed an episode of Black-ish called “Black History Month” where she addresses different feelings about how the month is treated. Her message in the episode was “that we are a vast group of people that historically, in the present, and in the future that’s coming down the pike, there is more to share that could never fit into a month,” Ross tells Variety. “It’s not about celebrating for just one moment; it’s about liberating and empowering the different stories and different voices so we can all be lifted up by them as a culture — not just as black people.” Her words are inspiring to me because it is about all the different stories and all the different voices because there are less and less who fit in a singular racial mold anymore, and there are becoming many, many more who fit in the multiracial one.
Nadia Wooten, Project RACE teens Vice President
Photo by Patrick Demarchelier