The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
Emily Shur—AUGUST
By Thelma Golden
September 15, 2021 7:15 AM EDT

I first met Tracee Ellis Ross decades ago through a mutual friend, who invited us both to the ballet. Within each other, we immediately recognized a shared passion for culture and all the enriching possibilities it can bring to life. Since then, I’ve come to know Tracee as an amazing friend, watched her career flourish and admired the ways in which she imbues her many roles on the screen—and in the world—with unflappable dedication, intelligence and grace.

Tracee’s given middle name is Joy, which aptly describes her. She walks through life informed by a sense of purpose while embodying passion, warmth, boundless creativity and an incredible sense of humor.

And she is a true disrupter. She authentically shows up as an actor, advocate, CEO and style icon who works tirelessly to bring lasting change to her industry. Tracee understands the impact her voice has, and she uses it with deep compassion and clear-sighted intention. The future of Hollywood is one that Tracee Ellis Ross is creating.

Golden is the director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem

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