Tracee Elliss Ross Wins Golden Globe for "Black-ish"
On January 7, 2018, Jewish actor, director, and activist Tracee Ellis Ross won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Actress in a Musical/Comedy Series – the first Black woman to win the award since 1983. Ross won the award for her role as Dr. Rainbow (Bow) Johnson, a biracial anesthetist and mother of five in the hit sitcom Black-ish (2014-2022), which explores the experiences of a Black family living in a predominantly white neighborhood. The show tackles a variety of issues surrounding race, culture, and politics in the United States and was praised by President Barack Obama as his family’s “favorite show.” Ross was also nominated for an Emmy five times for this role (her first nomination, in 2016, was the first nomination in 30 years of a Black actress for a lead role in a comedic series) and in 2019 won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.
Ross, formerly known as Tracee Joy Silberstein, was born in Los Angeles on October 29, 1972, to the famed Motown singer and actress Diana Ross and Jewish music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein. She was educated at The Dalton School in Manhattan, the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland, and Brown University, where she earned a BA in theater in 1994. In 2015, Brown awarded her an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts.
After graduating from college, Ross worked as a fashion editor at Mirabella and New York Magazine and as a model. She landed her first film role in Far Harbour (1996), playing a Black Jewish woman named Kiki. As Ross explained in a 2017 interview with W Magazine, “[T]hey were looking for a Black Jewish girl. That was me.”
Ross eventually landed her breakthrough role in the sitcom Girlfriends (2000-2008). She played the leading role, Joan Clayton, a successful lawyer in L.A. navigating dating and romance with her three friends. She then starred in the comedy series Reed Between the Lines (2011-2015), playing Carla Reed, a psychologist and mother, before shifting to Black-ish. She also starred in several movies, including Hanging Up (2000), I-See-You.Corn (2006), Daddy’s Little Girls (2007), and The High Note (2020).
From early in her career, Ross has been an outspoken advocate about issues facing women and people of color. She helped found the Time’s Up movement, telling reporters in 2018, “Time is up on a lot of things. … We all have to stand up together and with arms linked and not ranked. We can put an end to abuse and discrimination that makes the imbalance of power.” Ross hosted the second night of the Democratic National Convention in 2020, honoring Kamala Harris’ historic nomination for vice president.
ABC Television Network. “About.” black-ish. Accessed February 13, 2022. https://abc.com/shows/blackish/about-the-show
Brown University. “Brown awards six honorary doctorates.” News From Brown. Accessed February 13, 2022. https://news.brown.edu/articles/2015/05/citations#Ross
Greenidge, Kaitlyn. “Tracee Ellis Ross Will Set You Free.” Harper’s Bazaar, October 28, 2021. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a38058623/tracee-ellis-r…
Hirschberg, Lynn. “Tracee Ellis Ross Has Definitive Proof That Diana Ross Is the Greatest Mom of All Time.” W Magazine, September 7, 2017. https://www.wmagazine.com/story/tracee-ellis-ross-black-ish-emmys-diana…
Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “Tracee Ellis Ross.” Winners & Nominees. Accessed February 13, 2022. https://www.goldenglobes.com/person/tracee-ellis-ross
IMDB. “Reed Between the Lines.” Accessed February 13, 2022. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1699763/
IMDB. “Tracee Ellis Ross: Biography.” Accessed February 13, 2022. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0743896/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
Khaleeli, Homa. “Obama loves it, Trump called it racist: why Black-ish is TV's most divisive show.” The Guardian, February 25, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/feb/25/series-creator-ken…
Osegueda, Elisa. “Tracee Ellis Ross Says Together ‘We Can Put an End to Abuse and Discrimination’ (Exclusive).” Entertainment Tonight, January 7, 2018. https://www.etonline.com/tracee-ellis-ross-says-together-we-can-put-an-…
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Tracee Elliss Ross Wins Golden Globe for "Black-ish"." (Viewed on March 24, 2023) <https://jwa.org/thisweek/jan/07/2018/tracee-elliss-ross-wins-golden-globe-black-ish>.