Issa Rae and Tracee Ellis Ross are both Hollywood legends in their own rights, taking black excellence to new heights. Interestingly, both women have more in common than their shared career paths.
Issa Rae has a squad of Hollywood A-listers making up her close circle. From Yvonne Orji to Cynthia Erivo, her girlfriend squad is as real and powerful as it gets in black Hollywood.
It isn’t surprising then that showbiz legend Tracee Ellis Ross has been linked with this circle more times than once. Rae and Ross have made headlines on occasions thanks to their career escapades and contribution to the black community.
Their closely related careers have also contributed to creating this connection between them. The two, who share similar niches in the industry have unsurprisingly found themselves gunning for the same categories at award shows.
However, rather than see each other as rivals, they harnessed their crossing paths as an avenue to bond and celebrate their respective successes in the competitive world of showbiz.
Are Issa Rae And Tracee Ellis Ross Friends?
While Issa Rae and Tracee Ellis Ross are not exactly the best of friends, they have shared some beautiful moments throughout their careers.
Those cherished moments, some of which the world has been privileged to witness, prove that the duo has a lot in common. They also have all it takes to become BFFs if they so desire.
Meanwhile, Rae and Ross are content enjoying their love and admiration for each other, which has grown into a blossoming friendship over the years.
Below, we look at five times the two comedic actresses have given us the girlfriend vibes, both in their private lives and on the red carpet.
1. Mid-Air Hairstyling Lessons
What better way to depict black girl love than bonding with a girlfriend by sharing hair tips aboard a flight? Luckily, fans got to see Issa Rae and Tracee Ellis Ross live out that enviable moment in January 2018.
Both women ended up on the same flight while en route to NYC for the CFDA Awards. The “Black-ish” star gave fans a glimpse into their special girl time, sharing a video of Rar performing her mid-flight hair ritual.
It began with Ross revealing she ran into Rae on the plane. She then disclosed she was about to wrap her hair as was her usual practice before bedtime and apparently while traveling.
Ross proceeded to show off her hair, braided into a protective style, while the “Insecure” actress proceeded with her hair-wrapping process amid girly giggles.
Seeing these two Hollywood A-listers bond over such everyday routines black women could relate to made them seem closer than ever.
2. Twinning On The Red Carpet
Having similar taste in fashion certainly screams BFF especially when it involves celebrities. For the 2018 American Black Film Festival Honors, Issa Rae and Tracee Ellis Ross stormed the red carpet in somewhat identical outfits, at least color-wise.
Rocking similar-toned gold and blue gowns, the two commanded the red carpet, giving off the BFF vibes. While Ross rocked a velvet gown with a gold turtle neck long sleeve bodice and long blue skirt gathered at the waist, her girl pal flaunted her cleavage in a long blue satin gown and gold sequined bodice.
Taking to social media, the actresses shared their breath-taking outfits before and during the event. It certainly seems too much of a coincidence to have these two twin-up at such a big event. That, or their friendship dynamics have them thinking alike.
3. Emmy Nominated Teefs
Following the announcement of nominees for the 72nd Emmy Awards in December 2020, the duo got at it again. This time, they recruited Hollywood legend Regina King to share their black girl bond.
Ross took to Instagram to share a photo of the trifecta posing all smiles while relishing their respective nominations in the Outstanding Lead Actress categories.
Despite gunning for the same position, the “Emmy nominated teefs” had no bad blood between them. They chose instead to cherish how far they’ve come and enjoy their moment of glory.
Although actress Catherine O’Hara ended up snagging the trophy in that category, Ross, Rae, and King undoubtedly made a case for black excellence.
4. Winning In Style
In 2017, Ross made history when she won the Golden Globes Award for best actress in a TV comedy. She beat out other nominees like Gina Rodriguez and Issa Rae, thus becoming the first black woman to snag the win in 34 years.
Interestingly, Rae had her big comeback four years later. She outran Ross and other nominees to take home the trophy for Outstanding Best Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2021 NAACP Image Awards.
Tracee Ellis Ross was all too glad to celebrate her friend’s big win. Taking to Instagram, the 49-year-old admitted witnessing a friend’s win felt better than winning the award herself.
She accompanied the post with a video of Rae dishing out an appreciation speech from her home. The “Little” star did not hesitate to jeer her girlfriend over the win, albeit jokingly. She chided:
“Thank you Tracee Ellis Ross for losing.”
Fans and co-stars couldn’t get enough of them, utilizing the comment section to gush about the shared love and bond between the two women.
5. Love At First Bash
Tracee Ellis Ross and Issa Rae had a moment during a Papermag interview in February 2021, where they might have revealed the onset of their friendship.
During the sit-down, the younger woman admitted she specifically requested to have Ross interview her. She went on to explain how Ross was one of the initial supporters of “Awkward Black Girl,” at an ABC party several years ago. Hence, her reason for singling her out among other interview prospects.
Ross fondly recalled the moment, adding that she had the memory imprinted in a picture. Rae also thanked her sister-in-art for the initial support, which shaped the rest of her career.
As the interview continued, the two women exchanged more inside jokes, re-lived shared memories, and giggled their way through their exciting session.
Swimming In The Same Waters
Ross and Rae are more alike than they care to admit. As these moments prove, they have a lot in common, from their sense of style to shared passions and dreams.
Swimming in the same waters has enabled them also discover their commitment to supporting everything black. Following her historic Golden Globes win in 2017, the Black-ish icon dedicated her trophy to “all women of color.”
Through her acceptance speech, she celebrated black women, black history, and black excellence, reminiscing how far the industry has come since Debbie Allen’s win over three decades ago.
That same year, Rae graced the 69th Emmy Awards show, where she dropped her infamous quote, “I’m rooting for everybody black.” Her willingness to support other black celebrities despite her show’s snub at the awards show earned her the love and admiration of many around the globe.
Issa Rae and Tracee Ellis Ross’ passions resonate with their respective works in showbiz past and present. While Tracee created a legacy for herself and the rest of the black community through her stint on “Girlfriends” in the 2000s, Rae continued that legacy by bringing back the reflection of black excellence on “Insecure.”
In their own way, Rae and Ross have shown black people around the world that no dream was beyond reach once they set out to achieve it.