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Ahead of taking on hosting duties at the 2018 American Music Awards on Tuesday night, Tracee Ellis Ross spoke with Billboard News host Tetris Kelly to chat about what viewers can expect from the big night and why she believes awards show stages are the perfect places for artists to “use their voices” when it comes to political issues.
Speaking of the awards show, Ross said she plans to wear outfits from black designers throughout the event. She also shared that she will be taking part in an opening dance number, giving fans a taste of what’s to come as she shows off some moves from Ciara’s “Level Up” music video.
Ross was also asked about Taylor Swift, who will be opening the show with a performance of her song “I Did Something Bad,” as the pop star made headlines over the weekend after she shared a rare political statement on her Instagram account.
“I’m so grateful,” Ross said of Swift’s open letter, which encouraged fans to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. In her post, Swift endorsed two Democratic candidates and criticized Republican Tennessee representative and candidate Marsha Blackburn.
Asked if she feels any pressure about hosting an awards show when such a stage can be a platform for political discussion, the Black-ish star replied, “No one should feel pressure. You should only do what is comfortable for you. But I think that this is the time for all of us to step a little bit out of our comfort zones and stretch and actually use our voices.”
Adding, “And when you have a platform, I think it’s a good place to actually speak loudly.”
Ross wasn’t the only one to respond to Swift’s endorsement on Tuesday: The two politicians that she supported also thanked her on Twitter.
“.@taylorswift13, thank you for encouraging Americans to vote in the upcoming elections. 65,000 young people and more than 2,000 Tennesseans took your advice and registered on http://vote.org,” U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) wrote.
“We’ve got bad blood up in Washington. If you’re ready to get rid of hyper-partisanship and want someone who will get things done for Tennessee, I’m applying for the job,” Senate hopeful Phil Bredesen wrote, referring to Swift’s 1989 album song “Bad Blood.”
Ross is set to host the 2018 American Music Awards for the second consecutive time Tuesday. The show broadcasts live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Watch Ross’ interview below.
This story originally appeared on Billboard.
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