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September 24, 2022
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Tracee Ellis Ross on Keeping All Her Pursuits in ‘Harmony’ and Becoming a Disney Legend

Tracee Ellis Ross on Keeping All Her Pursuits in ‘Harmony’ and Becoming a Disney Legend

Tracee Ellis Ross is busier than ever despite closing the chapter on “Black-ish.” The actor, producer, entrepreneur and CEO’s focus has turned toward a list of projects including the Hulu/ OWN/ Onyx Collective docuseries “Hair Tales” (which she’s producing through her production company Joy Mill Entertainment), voicing the lead character in MTV’s animated Daria-spinoff movie “Jodie” and launching the podcast “I Am America.” In addition, she’s celebrating the three-year anniversary of her hair care company Pattern Beauty.

During her keynote conversation at Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit presented by City National Bank, Ross explained how she keeps all these different pursuits in “harmony.”

“I don’t strive for balance because it’s impossible, but a sense of harmony,” Ellis Ross told Variety senior entertainment reporter Angelique Jackson. “One of the biggest things that I do is do my best to walk consciously from A to B. So instead of rushing between everything, it actually creates more space in my day. It requires military precision. I have a calendar that is just mapped out.”

She added, “I have discovered that I am not a micromanager. When I trust the people around me — and I have extraordinary people around me — the things they do, that’s their expertise.”

Just days before the summit, Ross was inducted into the Disney Legends Hall of Fame. In her powerful speech at that event, she noted that “the world’s view of Black women is not elastic in its ability to see us expansively and to see our joy.” She’s made it her mission to star in and create content that changes that.

“That word legend, that’s a whopper of a word. And so I really had to think about it beforehand what what it meant to me,” she said. “When I think of the people [for whom] that word feels appropriate, I think they are people that help others to feel more free for the world to be more safe. The truth is that Bow Johnson felt legendary in that she was a Black woman on television that was thriving, not just surviving, filled with joy … which has been the most important part of me and a really intentional part of how I played Bow Johnson.”

Ellis Ross added, “She was inhabiting the fullness of her life as a wife, as a mother, as a doctor, all of those things, joyfully and fully. It’s something that’s really important to me and I am intentional about in terms of the roles that I take, but then [also] keeping writers and producers accountable for those things.”

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