Tracee Ellis Ross took home best actress in a comedy or musical TV series for “Black-ish,” and used that platform to make an important statement.
Taking the stage to accept her award early in the ceremony, Ross dedicated the honor to women of color.
“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. But I want you to know that I see you. We see you,” she said on stage. She also took a moment to thank Kenya Barris, creator of the ABC show, for allowing the series “to show the magic and the beauty and the sameness of a story and stories that are outside of where the industry usually looks.”
Ross is the first black woman to win in the category since Debbie Allen took the trophy for “Fame” in 1983. She is also the first black nominee in the field since Allen and Nell Carter of “Gimme a Break” were nommed in 1984.
Backstage, Ross was asked a pointed question about president-elect Donald Trump and what opponents of his policies can do to “stop him,” as the reporter put it. Ross chose her words carefully in responding, after earlier declining to comment on another Trump question (“I think I will let this moment be about my Golden Globe,” she said to that question).
But when pressed, Ross emphasized the importance of media and entertainment highlighting stories from cultures that haven’t been as much in the mainstream film and TV spotlight. “Continuing to tell our own stories and to stand up for what we believe in as individuals is very important,” she said. “How I accepted my award tonight spoke to how I feel about all different stories being represented.”
Ross was also asked about growing up with such a famous mother, singer Diana Ross, when she mentioned that there are now two Golden Globe winners in her family. “I never felt like I was in my mother’s shadow,” she said. “I always felt like I was in my mother’s embrace.”
Ross was up against stiff competition for her kudo: Rachel Bloom in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” who was last year’s winner; Emmy-winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Veep”; Sarah Jessica Parker for her return to TV, “Divorce”; Issa Rae for her critically acclaimed “Insecure”; and Gina Rodriguez, who won in 2015, for “Jane the Virgin.”
“Black-ish” was nominated for several awards on Sunday night, including best comedy or musical television series, which went to “Atlanta.” Ross’ “Black-ish” co-star Anthony Anderson is up for best actor in musical or comedy series later in the night.