Tracee Ellis Ross, fresh off her facilitating duties at the DNC, is still out there promoting her movie, The High Note, with Dakota Johnson and her hair line, Pattern. She recently appeared on the Los Angeles Times Podcast, Can’t Stop Watching. During her interview, Tracee talked about a decision she made for her character on Black-ish. She said she was determined not to have Rainbow doing chores in every scene because she wanted to break the conception that household chores only belonged to women. And to that I say, can I get an Amen?! The LAT released this quote from the podcast:
“What I did speak up about from the beginning was, “Why am I carrying laundry?” “Why am I the person in the kitchen cooking right now, when this has nothing to do with the scene?” Even sometimes when it does have something to do with the scene. And I started coining them as “lady chores.” “Why am I doing the lady chores?” “Can’t [co-star] Anthony [Anderson] do the lady chore?” Because I don’t believe they’re “lady chores.” I believe they’re house chores. And I don’t believe that we should assume, because I believe every relationship is a negotiation between two people about what each of them feel comfortable doing, and I think the more that we portray that on television, the more that that becomes the reality out in the world, or matches the reality that the world actually is.
Honestly, I could go line for line of Tracee’s comment and simply shout, Yes! I don’t want to delve too far into the sociological history that has led to women being expected to run the home regardless of our employment status, but I have suffered from it and so has my mother. And what’s worse, we’re the one who perpetuated it. I felt I had to do everything because my mom did, even though she worked full time. She was visiting once when I told my kids to sort and fold their laundry and she said, “good for you. I should have done a lot more of that.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was my husband who had insisted everyone should be involved in the laundry. But Tracee is right, we watched our moms and grandmothers working in the home non-stop and then television and films backed that idea up so we pressed on, killing ourselves. They are “house-chores” and Tracee was so smart to insist on that. Also, “I believe every relationship is a negotiation between two people about what each of them feel comfortable doing,” applies to every aspect of the relationship, doesn’t it?
Since I last wrote about Tracee, I finally saw The High Note. It’s a sweet film. It fell victim to some tropes that flattened the characters but it was still charming. Something I liked was you could tell music insiders had a hand in the story, the music execs weren’t all wearing black hats. Something I did not like is there were a few story lines they introduced and abandoned, and they seemed like interesting contributions to the arc. However, Tracee and Dakota were a g-d delight. As is this video Tracee posted to Instagram: