She received a doctorate of fine arts from Spelman College, a historically black women's liberal arts college, at Georgia International Convention Center on May 21.
"Black-ish" actress Tracee Ellis Ross received an honorary doctorate from Spelman College after being nominated by students and voted by the Spelman Board of Trustees for the honor. She received a doctorate of fine arts from the historically Black women's liberal arts college at Georgia International Convention Center on May 21. "Congratulations, Tracee, welcome to the Spelman family," said Spelman College President Dr. Helene Gayle, according to Good Morning America.
After being awarded the degree, the 50-year-old took the stage and expressed her joy at being among her Black sisters. She later shared the inspiring speech on Instagram with the caption: "I got to say a few words yesterday after @spelman_college bestowed me with an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts and made me a Spelmanite. Thank you, Dr. Helene Gayle, for this amazing opportunity to witness the glory and promise of these graduating young women."
"When I get to swim in the particularly special current of Black sisterhood, my heart rate settles, my shoulders drop and I am reminded of my worthiness because I see yours," she told the audience. "The world view of Black women is not elastic in its ability to see our worthiness and our wholeness, even as we continue to exceed, excel and shine."
Sharing some valuable words of advice for the graduating student, Ross added: "Make space for yourself, for your whole self. Your joy, your power, your fear, your loneliness, your insecurities, your pleasure, your passion, your dreams. Let there be space for all of it. In the private moments when you meet yourself, allow all of you to be present without judgment." She also encouraged the graduates not to "be afraid to be bad at something."
"Let yourself feel all the feels," she urged them. Ross, who visited the institution for the first time in February, encouraged the graduates to remember the safety and love they found in their community as they move into a world that does not always provide the same comforts. "May the safety and belonging of these walls send you forward in your choice to change the world with the protection of your sisters and your ancestors -- and with me, your best friend in your head," she said. She concluded her speech with a simple "Go Spelman!"
We are pleased to announce Pulitzer Prize-winning creator Nikole Hannah-Jones as keynote speaker for Spelman College’s 136th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21, 2023. Award-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross will receive an honorary degree. Read more: https://t.co/r5NAYCsrFc pic.twitter.com/yuK3DgBUfh— Spelman College (@SpelmanCollege) April 26, 2023
Along with being CEO of her haircare line, PATTERN Beauty, Ross also produced 'Hair Tales,' a limited series that "celebrates the history of Black hair as a site of connection and self-reflection," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ross attributes much of her success to her own journey of total self-acceptance. The Hair Tales, presented by Onyx Collective, shares stories of identity beauty, and humanity through the distinctive lens of Black hair.
She also started a podcast, "I Am America," through which she tells the stories of "hidden angels." The "Girlfriends" star has won three NAACP Image Awards and a Golden Globe for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy. Ross was nominated for an Emmy in 2016 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, making her the first African American woman nominated for that category in 30 years, reports Black Enterprise.