Women I Love: Tracee Ellis Ross

Women I Love: Tracee Ellis Ross
May 26, 2017 Farissa Knox

What’s not to love about this amazing woman?!? She is beautiful, hilarious, smart, thoughtful, and a great example to black women on how to be yourself unapologetically and the success that can come with that.

I was having a conversation with a new friend a few weeks ago about what it’s like being a black woman with your natural textured hair walking down the streets of Chicago or working in a majority white office (as most of us do) and how most of us get asked the question from white co-workers or friends ‘can I touch your hair’? My friend was really confused why this happens. I told her I know exactly why it happens. Curiosity and Ignorance. They are curious to know if it feels the way they think it feels. It looks soft, fluffy and inviting, they just want to know if it feels that way. And the ignorance is just that, they really have no idea what our hair feels like and that asking to touch it is offensive and not knowing that is an example of white privilege.

We went on to discuss the fact that we are not curious about how their hair feels. My point to my friend was that we don’t have to be curious. We know everything about white people. That is all we are shown, taught, exposed to unless we actively seek out other information or entertainment- or create it ourselves. So I don’t really have any questions about white people. I watched Friends. The problem is, they never watched Girlfriends. 

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Tracee took me through college as Joan in the CW show Girlfriends and was the first time my friends and I had a young woman of color to look up to in that way. Even though she was playing a character, she represented an independent woman with an amazing career as a lawyer, had a tight group of friends she could lean on and showed off a closet to rival Carrie Bradshaw, all while just so happening to be black- like the rest of us real black people. The power of reflection!

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Even if Tracee never sees this (which is the most realistic way to think about this since the closes thing I can claim to knowing her is following her on Instagram, watching Black-ish religiously with my husband, and once being in the same room with Anthony Anderson), I want to tell her Thank You. Thank You for your spirit, your career and being a reflection I am proud to look at every time I catch a glimpse in the mirror.

Love Farissa.

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