At the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, Tracee Ellis Ross took home the award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Black-ish matriarch Rainbow Johnson.
During her speech, the actress thanked the cast and crew of the series and then shared inspiring words about the trailblazing Black women telling our stories.
Quoting Audre Lorde, Ross said, “We too often have been expected to be all things to all people and to speak everyone else’s position but our very own.”
“Our experiences and stories are way too often told through interpreters,” Ross continued, “And history, systems, and laws have told us we need a man’s voice or power to name our existence, to validate our experiences. That we need a son to carry on a legacy, to etch our impact in time. But we get to define ourselves, not through how others imagine us, but through how we see ourselves. Even if our truth makes you uncomfortable.”
Ross went on to name women like Jill Scott, Yara Shahidi, Tiffany Haddish, Logan Browning, Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, Janelle Monáe, and more as women who are blazing a trail and inspiring others to share their stories.
The actress also added that she’s “humbled to learned from the legacies” of women like Lena Horne, Cicely Tyson, Moms Mabley, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Maxine Waters, Nina Simone, and her mother, Diana Ross.
“I love being a part of this ever-growing chorus of Black women owning our own legacies.”