Actress Tracee Ellis Ross is nearly a spitting image of her iconic mother Diana Ross and she recently put her flawless gene pool to use for her own rendition of her mother’s “Work That Body” music video.
Tracee is no stranger to celebrating her curves, hair and everything else that makes her awesome and she says part of her purpose in recreating her mother’s memorable music video stems from wanting to help all women appreciate they way that they see themselves rather than focusing on how they are seen by society. In a lengthy post on her personal website, she went into detail about her approach to recreating the video.
I was watching and thinking: why does watching this woman dancing around in barely any clothes with her tush to the camera make me feel joyful and empowered when the same kind of image in most music videos today doesn’t give me that feeling? I know this is my mom… so obviously I’m projecting a connection and I know it was a different time, it was the 80’s. But still, it didn’t feel like she was dancing as a presentation of herself or like she was offering up her bits, which I feel like most videos are these days. Often in today’s images (moving and still), we are being objectified or we objectifying ourselves. I think it is meant to be an empowered act, a reclaiming of our bodies. But that is not always what it feels like to me. I am not intending to judge, just exploring with curiosity.
Tracee also shared how watching her mother’s video opened her eyes to the idea of promoting the practice of women freely celebrating the positive ways in which we view ourselves rather than spending so much time focusing on how our bodies are objectified more than they are uplifted by society.
And then it hit me: My mom felt whole and connected …and in her body in this video. I have spoken before about encouraging women to shift our gaze from how we are seen to how we are seeing and, more important, feeling. And I saw a woman feeling joyful in herself as a whole being; she didn’t seem to be presenting her ass or saying look at all the ways I can make myself look appealing to YOU. She seems to be saying, “this is ME feeling good and I am strong and sexy and joyful in ME”!
So, I decided to recreate the video and try to feel the joy of being in my body while offering up tribute to my glorious mother.
Being proud to celebrate who we are as women regardless of what the conversation or perception is around us is certainly an important thing to do, especially in this day and age where we are constantly placed under a microscope and picked apart by men, the media and even each other.
Take a look at Tracee’s version of “Work That Body,” originally done by her mother Diana Ross, below.