She’s the Dr. Seuss 2017 needs. Tracee Ellis Ross took over late-night TV as the host Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and the Black-ish star, 45, turned her opening monologue into an all-too-timely teaching moment about sexual harassment. Trading jokes for real talk, Ross schooled viewers on how to more accurately discuss the sexual assault and misconduct stories that continue to make headlines.
“First of all, let’s start with the fact that it isn’t a sex scandal. It isn’t a Hollywood scandal. It isn’t even a scandal,” said Ross. “It is a systemic problem about the abuse of power that takes place across all industries and has enabled a culture of inequity to persist for far too long.”
But her monologue wasn’t without it’s LOL-worthy moments, like when she offered to give men a refresher on the basics of how to treat people. “While I’m not totally surprised by these stories, it seems like quite a few men are. Treating another human being with respect isn’t complicated. But it seems a bit confusing for a lot of men out there.”
Enter The Handsy Man, a children’s book Ross used to literally illustrate her point. It includes a list of things men should never do or say to a woman, plus the iconic line: “No, I won’t sit on your lap, I shouldn’t have to say this crap!” As if she hadn’t already earned her spot as our favourite teacher, Ross teased that this instant classic is only part one of a 67-part series.
Ross’s hosting gig is just the latest in what has been a landmark year for the actress. Aside from covering for Jimmy Kimmel (who is taking time off while his seven-month-old son Billy recovers from heart surgery), Ross also launched her own clothing line, a 45-piece limited-edition capsule in partnership with JCPenney, and hosted the American Music Awards in recent months. She also took home her first Golden Globe in January, making her the first Black woman to claim the Best Actress in a Comedy Series prize in 35 years.
Whether she’s collecting awards or on the late-night TV circuit, give this woman the mic and we’ll be watching!
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