Tracee Ellis Ross explains how Girlfriends reunion came together on black-ish
Tracee Ellis Ross tells EW why she jumped at the chance to reunite with her former Girlfriends costars, and how fans can still support the prematurely canceled show.
One good thing about being in the thick of a nostalgia craze is getting the opportunity to make right with a show that didn’t get a proper send-off at the time.
The episode, titled “Feminisn’t,” airing Tuesday, explores the differences that appear in black and white communities when it comes to feminism. Rainbow (Ross) participates in a series of activist events with friend Abby (Nadia Quinn), who is white, and her youngest daughter Diane (Marsai Martin) mentions that she does not identify as a feminist due its out-of-touch aspects that she refers to as “hashtag activism.” Rainbow decides to call for “black-up” from some of her college friends to help explain the importance of “black feminism” to Abby and other well-intentioned, but misguided, white women, as well as to explain the relevancy of “black feminism” to her daughter.
Said friends from college include Ross’ former Girlfriends costars Golden Brooks (who played Maya), Jill Marie Jones (who played Toni), and Persia White (who played Lynn). There’s even a gorgeously hilarious shot that pays homage to Girlfriends’ memorable theme song and opening sequence. Fans of both shows are in for a treat, but Girlfriends’ fans will be especially delighted with the perfectly executed reunion, particularly because the iconic show was prematurely canceled by the CW in 2008 after eight years without the chance to film a proper series finale. (Ross has previously spoken about the show, which had an all-black cast, being unjustly overlooked by mainstream media at the time.)
When asked about what inspired the reunion, Ross tells EW, “We’ve all been having this idea forever! How to do it? When to do it? What the right way is to do it? All those kinds of things. We’ve been through lots of incarnations of conversations. Do we do a movie? Can we get the funding?”
Ross mentions that Black-ish producer Courtney Lily actually came up with the idea independently of those previous conversations. “I can tell you he said the words ‘reunion’ [during ABC’s reunion night] and then he [made] the sound ‘Guh–‘ and I was like YES. YES. WHAT. YES.”
Of course, fans of the quintessential show may be wondering if they’ll be getting any more Girlfriends-related content (i.e that long-rumored movie) and how they can show the Girlfriends cast that there’s still interest. “Well, here’s what I’ll say. [The hashtag] #GirlfriendsNow is what we decided that we’re going to use and we’re going to try and see what happens,” Ross says. “This is an opportunity for people to speak up for the final time and actually band together and make this happen.”
And what would that be? “I don’t know, but I think we’re all open to the idea,” Ross says. “I would love it if it’s the right thing and that’s what I think all of us have said. If the script and the story is great and actually does justice for the eight years that we did and the characters and the women that we were…and did justice to what we came from, I think we all would be game.”
Well, you heard her, folks. If you’re still pulling for that movie or a Girlfriends series revival, make sure to tune into Tuesday’s episode and tweet with the hashtag #GirlfriendsNow to help make that happen.
Black-ish airs Tuesdays on ABC.