I’m a few days late to this because of the long weekend many of us just had in Canada but that only means that maybe a few of you missed it too. Tracee Ellis Ross covers the new issue of ELLE Canada. And the interview… is SO f-cking good. She talks about style, she talks about commitment, she talks about her neck (shout-out to Nora Ephron), and she talks about sex. She talks about how, for her, sex is better as she’s gotten older. Not too long ago, 45-year-old women weren’t covering fashion magazines. And certainly not the September issues of fashion magazines. And certainly not 45-year-old black women on the September issues of fashion magazines. They also weren’t discussing their relationships with their bodies and when and how to photoshoppe certain body parts. Tracee on the cover of ELLE Canada doesn’t mean we’re there yet, that elusive “there” that we’ve been trying to get to since…history, but it’s a step, right? Can we agree that it’s a step? Because there really isn’t much of a downside to any conversation involving her, is there?
There is certainly no downside to being around her and learning from her, which is the experience of the young cast of black-ish who’ve had the advantage of her mentorship at the beginnings of their careers. Tracee Ellis Ross is their auntie. Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris did an episode on their Still Processing podcast a few months ago called “We Love Aunties”, celebrating aunties both real and fictional in pop culture and entertainment. I’ve referred to Michelle Yeoh in the Crazy Rich Asians family as an auntie. And for the young actors on black-ish, and for so many watching, Tracee seems to be stepping into that role. During an interview recently with The Hollywood Reporter, Tracee talked about her relationship with them, and how she recently wrote Marcus Scribner’s college recommendation letter:
“Watching them all thrive has been incredible. My heart explodes for all four of them. I had the distinct honor of being asked to write a college recommendation letter for Marcus Scribner. To find the language to articulate how proud I am of the leader he’s become and his extraordinary talent, it really was a special moment for me.”
Once again she’s showing her work. Mentorship is part of the work. Someone told me last year that mentorship has to be multidirectional. We should all mentor. But we should also all have our own mentors. And our mentors and mentees can change in different stages of our lives. This feels true of Tracee Ellis Ross. She says as much in her interview with ELLE Canada, about her friendships and about her mother. I LOVE this quote:
“I felt like I grew up in her embrace, not her shadow.”
God that’s good. I am totally stealing that. For more on Tracee in ELLE Canada, click here.