Tracee Ellis Ross made history as the first Black actress nominated for a lead actress comedy Emmy in three decades. The star of ABC’s “black-ish” won critical acclaim as Rainbow “Bow” Johnson on the hit sitcom. Now her portrayal could earn an Emmy win.
“At this age, at this point in my career, to be a first-time nominee is extraordinary,” Ross told ABC of her Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series submission. “To be nominated on behalf of a show that I am so proud of. I have not yet gotten married or had a baby, and this is pretty up there on the list.”
The last time an African-American actress earned a lead comedy nomination was in 1986. That year, Phylicia Rashad got the designation for playing Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”
Before her, just four other Black women have been candidates for the award. Diahann Carroll’s titular role in the 1968-1971 sitcom “Julia” earned the first nomination. Then, “The Jeffersons” star Isabel Sanford earned a submission in 1981 as Louise “Weezy” Jefferson. And Nell Carter of “Gimme a Break!” got one in 1982.
Of all five past nominees, Sanford is the sole winner of the category.
Ross made note of most of those historic designations on Instagram. Beginning in August, she dedicated her “woman crush Wednesdays” to Carroll, Sanford, Carter and ended with Rashad last week.
“This whole other layer of the historical aspect is mind-boggling to me,” Ross added to ABC of her nod. “It adds a whole other layer to this that is extraordinary and wonderful.”
To celebrate the honor, Ross’ famous mother – singer Diana Ross – took out a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter last month.
— Tracee Ellis Ross (@TraceeEllisRoss) August 17, 2016
E! Online reported her co-star Anthony Anderson also scored a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – his second one in a row. And “black-ish” scored its first Outstanding Comedy Series nod.