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Celebrity focus: Tracee Elis Ross of ‘black-ish’ remembered to call her mother about her Emmy nomination

Tracee Ellis Ross arrives at the 21st annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss / Invision via Associated Press)
Tracee Ellis Ross arrives at the 21st annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss / Invision via Associated Press)
By Yvonne Villarreal Los Angeles Times

Tracee Ellis Ross, who plays family matriarch Dr. Rainbow “Bo” Johnson on the hit ABC comedy “Black-ish,” was nominated for her first Primetime Emmy Award on Thursday, for best actress in a leading roll. The actress, the daughter of singer/actress Diana Ross and music manager Robert Ellis Silberstein, talked with the Los Angeles Times the morning her nomination was announced.

Q: I assume you were up to watch your co-star Anthony Anderson announce the nominations?

A: Yes, I was watching Anthony this morning. I did my best last night – I let a couple of girlfriends know the nominations were happening but I didn’t let my family know because depending on what happened, I wanted to feel like I could go about my day. I clapped like a crazy person when Anthony’s name was said and screamed like a crazy person. And the fact that he got to say my name was so special. I danced around my coffee table and opened my front door and walked outside. Then I realized I didn’t know where I was going, so I walked back inside. And I called my mom.

Q: And? What did Ms. Ross say?

A: She was sleeping. Of course, she picked up the phone and was like, ‘Baby I’m sleeping. Can I call you back?” And I was like, “No, wake up!” And given that she has kids and grandkids, she went into, ‘What’s happening?’ ” She was ready for anything. I was like, “I just got nominated!” She said, “I can’t go back to sleep!” We screamed for a little.

Then I realized I hadn’t listened to hear what other women were nominated so I went to play it back. The other women in this category are ridiculous. Julia Louis-Dreyfus defies all odds. She’s had three hit shows? Utterly insane. Amy Schumer is someone that I’m friendly with and absolutely love. Laurie Metcalf – beyond and end all in life. Lily Tomlin – why don’t you just shut every front door. Are you freaking kidding me, right now? Shut up. And then Ellie Kemper, I mean, stop it

But nothing had me as excited as the show being nominated. It is so deserved. And I’m grateful that there is new blood. I like seeing a reflection of what is happening on television.

Q: There’s a lot of attention on well-liked shows once they enter their second season. It’s like – can you keep this going? You guys kept it going.

A: It’s like day-old chili. It gets better. There was a sense of confidence in who we were and an ease that happens when you’ve developed a flow. The subject matter we were able to tackle came with a sense of courage. And I know our show is called “black-ish” and race is one of the places we explore deeply, but, from my perspective, the way we talk about being a woman and a wife and all of that is equally extraordinary.

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