‘Call Us When She Gets a Role That We Care About’: Tracee Ellis Ross Discusses Winning a Golden Globe In a ‘Segregated’ Industry, Recalls Having a Hard Time Booking TV Appearances After ‘Girlfriends’

Tracee Ellis Ross is speaking out about being snubbed by a staffer from “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

In a recent interview with Variety, the 50-year-old entertainer said she had never been to the Golden Globes prior to her 2017 victory for Best Television Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series for “black-ish.”

Tracee Ellis Ross. (Photo: @traceeellisross/Instagram)

Ross noted that winning the Golden Globe was her career high, but while starring on “Girlfriends” between 2000 and 2008 she was snubbed by a Jay Leno staffer.

“I’d never been to the Golden Globes,” she recalled. “I couldn’t get on a late-night talk show. I remember when I was on ‘Girlfriends’ Jay Leno’s talent person saying to my publicist, ‘We love Tracee. Call us when she gets a role that we care about.’”

She continued, “So that was my experience in the industry. The industry was a lot more segregated at the time. So winning the Golden Globe, from an ego perspective, it’s like ‘Blah, blah, blah, really great.’”

Ross went on to say that winning an award changes how an entertainer is seen in the entertainment industry as well as how one is paid, especially for people of color.

“Winning is a marker for the industry,” she exclaimed. “It changes something about how you are seen, particularly as a person of color in this industry, and how you are paid. That moment at the Golden Globes really shifted my career into a different place.”

Ross played Joan Clayton in “Girlfriends,” the sitcom created by Mara Brock Ali. The iconic series follows four Black women in their 30’s as they navigate life, love, relationships, and their professional careers. The series ended abruptly during a writer’s strike, and she directed the final episode that aired in 2008.

On “black-ish,” she played Rainbow “Bow” Johnson, a mother of five children with a thriving career as an anesthesiologist. Throughout the show’s eight seasons, Bow often boasted about her intelligence and career compared to her husband, Andre “Dre” Johnson, played by Anthony Anderson, who worked in advertising.

Since then, she has appeared on several late-night talk shows including “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Ross’ next role will be in the thriller “Cold Copy,” where she plays a morally corrupt television journalist who mentors another young reporter attempting to take her down.

“It’s really interesting to play somebody who’s on the wrong side of things,” said Ross of the role. Earlier this week, the daughter of singing legend Diana Ross attended the film’s premiere in New York City for the 2023 Tribeca Festival.

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