Like an African-American Sex and the City, the show gave a humorous voice to Black women living and loving in sunny California from 2000 to 2008. But Girlfriends’ greatest legacy involves introducing the world to the comedy stylings of Tracee Ellis Ross. With comic timing worthy of Lucille Ball, Tracee became even more familiar to TV audiences years later as the Clair Huxtable-like matriarch Rainbow Johnson on ABC’s black-ish. Born and raised in Los Angeles as the daughter of Diana Ross and her first husband, music exec Bob Ellis Silberstein, Tracee forged a unique path in entertainment that includes acting (she has one Golden Globe win and three Emmy nominations under her belt), modeling, directing and TV hosting. Here, she shares a first-person account of her mom’s love and influence.
TRACEE ELLIS ROSS: I grew up in my mother’s embrace. I have never known anything other than this, so I have nothing to compare it to. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. I always say it’s as if my mother swallowed the sun, and somehow she protected that light within her and shared it with her children and the world.
As a little girl, I saw my mom as a glorious lady in a sparkly dress singing on the stage, but at the same time, as my protector and my safe space. I realize now that I was lucky enough to have witnessed a woman in her full glory: connecting with this incredible gift she had