During my recent Disney trip we privy to amazing ABC moments. We went to a LIVE tapping of Dancing with the Stars, and we discovered some Secrets from The Muppets. There also was this opportunity: Tracee Ellis Ross Shares About “black-ish” on ABC . Have you watched the ABC comedy “black-ish”? You are missing out on good wholesome laughs if you have not! I have been watching the program and was definitely looking forward to our exclusive interview with Tracee Ellis Ross who plays Rainbow Johnson, the mom on the show. I can’t rave enough about her. A beautiful woman, Tracee Ellis Ross was gracious, generous with her time and I just saw myself talking for hours with her about life, the world, and where to have ice cream next. She was just that personable. There is plenty to talk about the program too, so let me share:
Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow, four kids, and a colonial home in the ‘burbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family?
Tracee Ellis Ross Shares About “black-ish” on ABC
Playing a Mom
One of the first things that really stuck me is that Rainbow Johnson is a good mom. It seems to me Rainbow does go through the everyday stresses every working mom goes through. Yet she is played but a talented star who is not only single but also does not have children. Like any good actor, the story is not about the life of the person playing the part. Instead Ellis Ross focuses on making her character be as real and authentic as possible. So Rainbow is never in heels and mostly grabbing from the closet and going, like moms typically do. The actress says “What I really wanted to bring to Bow is that she dressed hair and makeup wise, like an authentic woman. I don’t know a mother of four with a career and a husband that can spend a ton of time putting together looks and doing the whole thing.” Ms. Ellis Ross is usually in wears heels, accessorized and wearing more make up than her character. Attention to detail is key, and so Tracee Ellis Ross makes it a point to shoot bed scenes with no mascara, no eye make up, ,and if possible no make up, except for lipstick. You and I would not go to bed with a full face of make up, right?
Working with Children
Her vibe is so positive and caring that I was not surprised when she expressed so much warmth when talking about working with children on the show. She asserted how talented they all are, and focused on how they all are wonderful people. I think her words sum it all up perfectly: “There’s that myth, don’t work with kids or animals. I can’t understand that. I had such a good experience. You can say it this way, they’ve been on the planet for less time than us and they’re not jaded, they just have a pure joy – when you see Miles and Marsai in the morning, they run towards you for a cuddle. It’s magic. Usually between takes, there’s a lot of giggling and laughing and videos being taken and pictures and everything, so I really enjoy it. They’re extremely talented.”
I was taken by how she came out with basketball analogies to help one of the younger actors understand the word focus: “Because he [Miles] loves basketball, I told him focus is like ‘who had the ball.’ And so now that’s what I say, “who has the ball?” But even if he doesn’t have the ball, we have to stay in the scene and you stay in the game, right?”
Her Favorite Episodes
I have to agree with her choices. If you haven’t seen them, go search for them. Tracee Ellis Ross’ favorite episodes are:
- “Churched”: she felt it all fell into place beautifully. I thought it was smooth and clever humor.
- “Jacked o’ Lantern”: not only was she laughing hard, she was also impressed by the kid’s performance when they fought their cousins
- “The Word”: writing-wise the subject was handled well and they were able to make a difficult topic funny
Tonight’s “black-ish” episode
Airs on wednesdays at 9:30 ET on aBC. We had a sneak preview and you can’t miss it: “Man at Work” Dre has always looked out for the crew he grew up with, but when his childhood friend Sha (guest star Faizon Love) comes to stay at the house for a few days, Bow thinks he is taking advantage of Dre’s generosity. Meanwhile, Daphne Lido (played by Wanda Sykes), the now ex-wife of Stevens & Lido’s founding partner, gains control of half of the company and wants to start inserting herself in company business.