*Despite suffering from laryngitis and losing her voice, “Black-ish” star Tracee Ellis Ross delivered a moving speech about self-acceptance at Essence magazine’s annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon recently in Beverly Hills. Ellis was honored at the event for being “Fierce and Fearless,” and joked about working as a “silent actress,” since losing her voice.
“I was terrified when I lost my voice, but I have come to understand and listen to the fear,” she said. “I walk towards it and I lean into it to find information – and things that it has to teach me.”
Tracee shared a message of self-acceptance at the luncheon, which included Chris Rock, Nate Parker, Oprah Winfrey, La La Anthony, Debbie Allen, Nick Cannon, Kelly Rowland and Leon Bridges, who performed “River.”
“Losing my voice has been a spiritual experience. I am not the sound of my voice. I am me, and I could be the same me without a voice,” she told the crowd. Tracee thanked “my big sister [Rhonda] . . . My whole personality and life is from bumping up against you . . . Thank you for being my big sister,” she said.
Ross also recognized her famous mom, Diana, and father, Robert Ellis Silberstein, who was sitting in the audience.
“Everyone knows me as my mother’s child, but this is my father — where I got my sense of humor from,” she said. “I don’t always feel fierce, but I feel like a rock star at being human. Thank you, Essence, for helping me celebrate my humanity.”
The actress then encouraged the women in the audience to embrace the idea that “perfect is not the goal.”
“We should remind ourselves in daily life to make space for selfhood,” the actress added. “Boobs don’t belong up here, they belong down here. This is where God put them. I am human. I don’t always feel fierce but I do feel human.”
Tracee stars as Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the hit ABC comedy series “Black-ish.” The role has scored her two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, and well as Critics’ Choice Television Award nomination.
“For all the women that are swimming upstream in our culture of expectation, inequality, sexism and racism – my hope is that we will gloriously allow ourselves to be ourselves and to become limitless,” added Ross at the Essence honors.