Tracee Ellis Ross In Emotional Speech At Essence Honors

“I am often afraid, but I have come to understand and listen to the fear.”

The Black-ish star, Tracee Ellis Ross was able to deliver a spectacular touching speech in her honor although losing her voice last Thursday. Ellis received an honor for being “Fierce and Fearless.”

“I was terrified when I lost my voice, but I have come to understand and listen to the fear,” she said. “I walk towards it and I lean into it to find information – and things that it has to teach me.”

“Losing my voice has been a spiritual experience. I am not the sound of my voice. I am me, and I could be the same me without a voice,” she told the crowd. Tracee thanked “my big sister [Rhonda] . . . My whole personality and life is from bumping up against you . . . Thank you for being my big sister,” she said.

The 43-year-old actress went on to say that she is “no longer afraid of being afraid.” Ross thanked and recognized the people around her as she accepted the award.

“Everyone knows me as my mother’s child, but this is my father — where I got my sense of humor from,” she said. “I don’t always feel fierce, but I feel like a rock star at being human. Thank you, Essence, for helping me celebrate my humanity.”

The actress proceeded in her speech by encouraging the women in the audience to embrace the idea that “perfect is not the goal.”

“For all the women that are swimming upstream in our culture of expectation, inequality, sexism and racism – my hope is that we will gloriously allow ourselves to be ourselves and to become limitless,” added Ross, whose series Black-ish had a nuanced discussion about race relations in the United States during Wednesday’s episode.

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