Read the touching letter Black-ish star and Golden Globe-winning starlet Tracee Ellis Ross wrote to her teen co-star, Yara Shahidi, winner of the 2017 ESSENCE Black Females in Hollywood” Generation Next “award.What a gift it is for me to be able to witness you in this moment of tremendous development and grace. I was here in this life 27 years before you arrived. And you lived 13 years prior to we met, yet it has actually been nearly 4 years that we have been strolling beside each other, sharing mornings and long hours, stealing minutes of silliness and declaring minutes of connection … often in the type of sisterhood, typically under the guise of a mother/ daughter, however mainly as kindred souls from various eras.There are a couple of essential things that we share beyond Black-ish: we are both of combined heritage and we honor and commemorate our traditions, we both have incredibly strong moms whom we enjoy deeply. We have brother or sisters that shore us up and help specify us.Kerri and Afshine-thank you for raising this being.Yara, we have actually earned our relationship gently and I hold it as spiritual
. Our relationship is necessary and is not almost me playing yourmother on screen. It is about what takes place in between takes, in the hair and make up trailer, in our calls and text exchanges and when we see each other out in life as two brown ladies with lots of hair that is either masterfully braided, bunned, or just flying free.I enjoy your company sweet, Yara. I value our ridiculous and inexpressible text messaging. I am so pleased I understood to call you for the Women’s March which we will have that as a memory for the rest of our lives, that we were together in that powerful moment.You can’t assist however to grow up, but you are likewise awakening and that is a choice that you are boldly making. You have an interest in and concentrated on change, drawn to believed leaders, starving for understanding and willing to use your platform to notify
racial justice and gender parity.Both on and off the set I witness you finding your voice. I am moved when I see you speak truthfully about your own identity as a young Black and Iranian American woman.I think your intimate life experience, holds lessons that are universal. You have actually signed up with forces with New york city’s Young Women’s Leadership Schools to introduce the digital mentorship program called, simply, YARA’S CLUB. And you’re simply getting begun. As somebody who has actually remained in this industry and on earth for a minute now, I understand the journey of becoming more comfy in your own skin and living every day authentically. I see you in this custom, having acquired a world that has actually become a bit more accepting of strong, jubilant, clever Black Girls. And I am encouraged that you get to mature at a time where there is an event of Black Woman Magic.I would be remiss if I didn’t share that, even as I am excited for you, I browse our nation, and I hear stories, I understand that girls of color are faced with challenging truths. [ The African American Policy Online forum’s #BlackGirlsMatterReport reveals that Black girls are often pressed out of schools, over policed and under secured.
] That said, I believe in you and my wish for you is that you will honor your potential while you honor the past, by taking the obligation of this minute to heart.As I know you know representation matters. Your existence on television symbolizes a lot for girls. And your presence off screen informs so much more. I see you as a young woman of substance who has an interest in expanding narratives and learning the best ways to develop change. As FLOTUS Michelle Obama said,” your generation can be the one to guarantee that women are not 2nd class people, that ladies take their rightful place.
“Young Yara … May you find acceptance, safety, delight and beauty in your very own body. May you remain curious and teachable. As an artist, and as a lady with a platform, the invite is set prior to you to continue to speak fact and to use your creative expression to deepen our understanding of mankind and even more social progress. I understand you will do so remarkably. Love, Tracee PS. Congratulations ESSENCE on the 10th Anniversary of Black Ladies in Hollywood! Ross checked out the letter at the 2017
ESSENCE Black Females in Hollywood Awards