Tracee Ellis Ross Speaks the Truth: Women Are 'Valuable And Powerful And Entertaining'

Tracee Ellis Ross in Max Mara (Photo: Getty Images)

Last night, every woman in the room was donning her invisible Wonder Woman cuffs at the Women in Film’s Crystal + Lucy Awards, held at the Beverly Hilton.

You want bold-faced names? How about Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Senator Kamala Harris, for starters. The evening’s honorees were Elizabeth Banks Tracee Ellis Ross, Zoey Deutch and Mira Nair.

“Thank you for using your voice to change so many lives,” Obama said via video message to Ross, who talked about the women she grew up watching on television, like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and Lily Tomlin.

“The women I saw on TV helped me to feel empowered, strong, joyful, bold, free, equal and human. [They] not only pointed me in that direction, but they pointed me in my direction. I didn’t get here by accident […] I found parts of me in all these women. I’ve said it before, but I just feel like it bears repeating: Women are not defined by who we are in relationship to, we are valuable and powerful and entertaining just because we are,” she said.

Elizabeth Banks in Max Mara (Photo: Getty Images)

Banks discussed the rough year it’s been in American politics.

“I’m so proud to get that I get to raise two boys to love women and I’m so proud that I get to present to them a working mom that really loves what she does. I take the responsibility […] very seriously that we are creating culture, that we are sending messages out to the world that matter. And presenting strong, independent women that have agency in TV and film is really important, not in just this room, but in the global culture. And co-opting men and boys into that process is the only way that progress is going to happen,” she said.

But perhaps director Mira Nair said it best when she said it simplest: “If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will.”

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