The AMAs' hostess with the mostest
In November 2017, Tracee Ellis Ross hosted the American Music Awards for the first time (wearing a whole series of spectacular outfits — including the very same bedazzled shirt her mother Diana Ross wore to perform with Michael Jackson in 1981 — throughout the night), and she opened the show with a shoutout to her mom, the 2017 recipient of the AMAs’ Lifetime Achievement Award. “We’re making history! We are the first mother and daughter who have ever hosted the American Music Awards,” Tracee told the audience after honoring Diana in her monologue (pictured). “I mean, she did it twice, but there’s always next year…”
She wasn’t kidding. The Black-ish star will take on hosting duties once again for the 2018 ceremony, taking place Tuesday night. In celebration of her second consecutive turn at the podium, read on for 10 more of Ross’ best moments in recent years.
Winning an NAACP Image Award in 2009
Long before she started collecting trophies for her work on Black-ish, Ross starred on the beloved UPN/CW sitcom Girlfriends from 2000–08, winning two NAACP Image Awards over the course of the series, the second of which came in 2009 after the show’s final season. “What a proud moment to stand up on this stage,” she said as she accepted her statuette. “I feel like we’re at such an incredible time in our lives, and I just feel honored, especially in this moment.”
Honoring Diana Ross with a music video
In 2015, Ross paid tribute to her famous mother with a multi-generational clip, with footage from Diana’s 1981 “Work That Body” music video intercut with Tracee recreating her mom’s dance moves (in the same workout wardrobe, too). “Thanks, Mom! What do you think?” Ross says, laughing, at the end of the video. “I think you’re so much hotter than me!”
Fake-singing her heart out on Lip Sync Battle
Hosting the BET Awards in 2016
In 2016, even TV stars like Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson were not immune to Hamilton fever. As hosts of the BET Awards that year, the duo opened the show with a medley of some of the hottest tracks of the year, performed in the style of the Broadway phenomenon — right down to the colonial wardrobe. Work!
Speaking at Glamour's Women of the Year Summit in 2016
In 2016, less than two weeks after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, Ross opened Glamour’s annual Women of the Year Summit. She kicked off the night with a “primal sound” before launching into a moving speech. “For those of us at the pointed end of discrimination, the volume has been turned up, and we will need to amplify our skills as we navigate our daily lives. We must continue to shine undeniably,” she said. “It’s easy to hold a loving space for all of those who feel scared and betrayed, but the real work is finding that same space for those who feel vindicated and proud. We must remind each other that we are free, equal, worthy of respect and safety, even if the world tells us something different.”
Winning a Golden Globe in 2017
In 2017, Ross won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Dr. Rainbow “Bow” Johnson on black-ish — becoming the first black actress to take home the award for Best Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy in 35 years (since Fame’s Debbie Allen in 1982). “This is for all the women of color and colorful people whose stories, ideas, and thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important,” she said in her acceptance speech. “But I want you to know that I see you. We see you.”
Hitting the Met Gala carpet in 2017
Ross is a bona fide style savant, consistently delivering surprising, creative, fashion-forward looks on every red carpet she hits. The 2017 Met Gala — the theme of which was Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo — brought one of her all-time best style moments ever. Wearing this royal blue gown by the avant-garde designer himself, Ross demonstrated her understanding and appreciation of the artist’s work as well as her own confident, super-cool taste.
Answering 73 questions
Ross welcomed Vogue into her bright Los Angeles home for one of the magazine’s oh-so-watchable “73 Questions” videos. In addition to performing an improvised poem, addressing the camera in character as both of her alter egos, and identifying her ideal partners for a love scene (Rihanna and James Dean), Ross spoke about the pride she takes in her black-ish character “changing and expanding what it is to be a joyful black woman.”
Educating the world about sexual harassment
Guest hosting an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! In 2017, Ross addressed the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal — which, she promptly clarified, “isn’t even a scandal. It is a systemic problem about the abuse of power that takes place across all industries.” She then revealed that she’d written a children’s book — for men! — breaking down exactly how not to treat women. “There is a guy with 10 long fingers, creepy glares, and hugs that linger,” the book begins. “If you’re a woman, you’re not a fan. I speak, of course, of The Handsy Man.”
In the "Nice for What" music video
Ross featured alongside Olivia Wilde, Tiffany Haddish, Misty Copeland, and a dozen more female celebrities in Drake’s star-studded “Nice for What” music video in 2018, in which the women appeared doing a variety of different activities. For her scene in the joyous clip, Ross wore a truly fabulous sequined jumpsuit and danced by herself.