Tracee Ellis Ross

By Jasmine Browley 

Tracee Ellis Ross has made incredible strides in her career both on and off the screen and she’s being celebrated for that by one of our most beloved institutions. 

The award-winning actress, producer, and Founder will be honored with a Doctorate degree by Spelman College. The honor will be bestowed at the school’s 2023 Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 21, 2023. 

The honor comes after Ellis’s years of success as the co-lead of ABC’s award-winning comedy series Black-ish and Girlfriends. Ross won the Golden Globe Award in 2017 as well as nine NAACP Image Awards for her role as Rainbow on Black-ish. She is also the founder of PATTERN, a haircare brand for people with curly hair. 

“One of the things that’s been really important to me from the beginning, about PATTERN, is that we really are meeting our hair where it is,” Ross told ESSENCE in 2020 at the time of the brand’s second product line-up rollout. “We aren’t telling it where to go.” Her products are now distributed nationwide and can be found in Ulta stores and online. 

Aside from her passionate beauty entrepreneurship, she’s also an advocate for amplifying diverse representation in media as well. She executive produced and narrated Hair Tales, a docuseries about Black women’s beauty identity through their relationship with hair. It featured commentary from Chloe Bailey and Issa Rae, among others and debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and Hulu in October 2022. She also produced I Am America, a limited podcast about collective healing.