Tracee Ellis Ross Talks Girlfriends, Black-Ish and Her Racial Identity

*Tracee Ellis Ross may be on some “Black-Ish” now, but many TV viewers remember when she experienced the ups and downs of life on the small screen as part of the show “Girlfriends.”

Six years after her character Joan and her close-knit crew of ladies (Toni, Maya and Lynn) abruptly went off the air, Ross sat down with The Breakfast Club to reminisce over “Girlfriends” as well as promote “Black-Ish” and talk on the subject of race.

Highlights from the interview are below:

On Girlfriends ending abruptly
Well it was abrupt that we didn’t get a finale, but that’s sort of a regular occurrence for a lot of shows. We went eight years, 176 episodes.

On what would have happened next if the show kept running
I actually think there was a script and Toni and Joan came back together. I think we always thought…did you ever watch “Sex & The City”? Toni was sort of Joan’s Mr. Bigg, so they do, they did get back together and I think Joan got married.

No [they weren’t lesbians]. I think they had the sort of relationship in which they needed each other and it never could quite make it fit in the right way; like Ying & Yang. It was a good relationship I have to say and even with Jill [Marie Jones].

On rumors that there would be a “Girlfriends” movie
Yeah, and we were all game. I don’t know what happened with that. But now, don’t you think it’s too long? The girlfriends might look old.

On the show “Black-ish”
“Black-ish” is a family comedy about black family. It’s one of the things I think is interesting on the show, we’re not a family that happens to be black, we are a black family, but it’s about a family dealing with their ish. Although the show is not about being black, within the ish a lot of cultural-identity race, all those things come up.

On if there was ever a moment that she was made aware that she was black
First of all, I’ve never known that I wasn’t black. [In a negative moment] I’ve had moments; I had moments where the cab has pulled up and pulled away, especially if my hair is out. They get a little closer and keep on moving. For some reason, I can’t think of stuff now but I’ve always known I was black. In an interview recently, someone said, ‘So as a mixed woman, why is it that you identify with a black woman?’ If I thought I could try being a white woman for a day and say that maybe I would. I was like, ‘I don’t know if anyone would buy it. No, no, no I’m white. I’m very tan…very tan. I get a perm.[LAUGHS]‘

To see the rest of Tracee Ellis Ross’ interview with The Breakfast Club, check out the video below:


(Tracee Ellis Ross Talks Girlfriends, Black-Ish and Her Racial Identity)