Tracee Ellis-Ross received an honorary doctorate degree from Spelman College during the 2023 commencement ceremony. The actress/comedienne, who recently produced the “I Am America” podcast, was honored with a Doctorate of Fine Arts.
Ellis-Ross revealed that she visited Spelman College for the first time earlier this year and was inspired by the energy she felt while on campus.
“Earlier this year in February, I came to Spelman for the first time and there is a particular kind of quickening that happens in my heart when I’m in a sea of Blackness,” she said during the ceremony. “But when I get to swim in a particularly special current of Black sisterhood, my heart rate settles, my shoulders drop and I am reminded of my worthiness.”
She also thanked Spelman’s leadership and Nikole Hannah-Jones, who served as the commencement speaker.
“Thank you Dr. Hill for bestowing me with this prestigious, an extraordinary honor,” Ellis-Ross said. “Thank you NiKole for those words. I will take those words and I thank you for you ongoing contribution to our democracy.”
Ellis-Ross included by sharing inspirational words to the 2023 Spelman graduates.
“Your joy, your power, your fear, your loneliness, your insecurities, your pleasure, your passion, and your dreams. Let there be space for all of it,” she said. “In the private moments when you meet yourself, allow all of you to be present without judgment. At some point in a day, allow yourself to have the feelings that you’re having. The world is not going to hold space for you, and not for the wholeness of you. So give yourself that gift.”
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