Tracee Ellis Ross Preaches the Importance of Feeling "Joy" Even in Tough Times

By Allison Crist Nov 16, 2020 9:12 PMTags
Watch: Tracee Ellis Ross Smirks When Hearing Icon Next to Name

Tracee Ellis Ross had a big night at the 2020 E! People's Choice Awards on Sunday.

She was officially crowned the Fashion Icon of 2020, and while accepting the honor, the actress, producer and CEO delivered what might be one of the best speeches in PCAs history. Throughout the address, Tracee paid tribute to her mom Diana Ross, secondhand clothing, her shopping addiction and most importantly, the power of fashion.

Tracee further reflected on these things backstage, telling E! News that despite 2020 being an admittedly difficult year, her "creative expression hasn't changed," and she continues to draw style inspiration from nature, art, "extraordinary people" like Tyler Perry (who was named the People's Champion of 2020!) and "the incredible movement that's happening and the way people are engaged."

"Young people, my nieces and my nephews inspire me," Tracee added. "But honestly, clothes bring me a lot of joy."

And that is important in and of itself! 

People's Choice Awards 2020: See Every Star

"I think right now with everything that's going on, really allowing the things that bring you joy to bring you joy is important," Tracee explained, even though she admitted that's often easier said than done.

"It's hard for me because sometimes I feel like, 'Oh my god. There's so much work to do. There's so much happening. People are really struggling. People are dying,'" the Black-ish star added. "It feels sometimes frivolous. And then I have to remind myself that the way to fill the well is to learn what gives you joy."

Christopher Polk/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Tracee continued, "And it doesn't mean you have to stay there all the time. You get to let it fuel your work."

Take what she said on the People's Choice Awards stage, for example: "I wear my insides on the outside, and if featuring Black designers at American Music Awards helped someone see the power of Black artistry or if joining the call to wear black at the Golden Globes led to solidarity with women saying time's up on sexual harassment, then you heard me loud and clear. If fashion is the thing that draws you in, use it as a tool for transformation." 

"Use fashion as an entrance," she continued during the moving speech. "Let clothes be your superhero cape, allowing you to be the best you you can be. Activate the clothes through your joy and commitment to the world that you want to see. It doesn't matter if you wear black tie or a 'Black Lives Matter' T-shirt, but suit up and show up, because our action creates our destiny, our joy creates space for our freedom." 

Celeb Homes Featured on 2020 People's Choice Awards

We would say Tracee's inspiring words were spoken like a true "icon," but apparently, she's not used to the title quite yet!

"Having 'icon' anywhere near my name makes me smirk a little 'cause it's like, 'Come on!'" Tracee told E! News. "But it's very exciting."

Watch her full interview in the above clip!

Latest News