Tracee Ellis Ross is the first black actress in 30 years to receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series. Ross, who stars in the hit ABC show Black-ish, says,
At this age, at this point in my career, to be a first-time nominee is extraordinary. 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.
Not since Phylicia Rashad’s 1986 nomination for her role as Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show has a black woman been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series. Only five black actresses have ever been nominated in the category. They include Diahann Carroll (Julia), Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons), Nell Carter (Gimme a Break!), Rashad and Ross for a total of 13 nominations between them all. Ross adds,
This whole other layer of the historical aspect is mind boggling to me. It adds a whole other layer to this that is extraordinary and wonderful.
The daughter of singer/actress Diana Ross, Ross began her career acting in independent films, variety series and hosted the pop-culture magazine The Dish on Lifetime. From 2000 to 2008, she played the leading role as Joan Clayton on the UPN/CW comedy series Girlfriends, for which she received two NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. She also has appeared in films Hanging Up (2000), I-See-You.Com (2006), and Daddy’s Little Girls (2007), before returning to television playing Dr. Carla Reed on the BET sitcom Reed Between the Lines, for which she received her third NAACP Image Award.
In 2014, Ross began starring as Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the ABC comedy series Black-ish. The role brought her two more NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, as well as nominations for a Critics’ Choice Television Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.
The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 18 at 7 p.m. ET