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Talk about shaking what your mama gave you.
Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross paid tribute to her famous mom, Diana Ross, by re-creating her mother’s 1981 “Work That Body” music video.
Like the elder Ross, the actress works out, stretches, lifts weights and jumps rope wearing a variety of different, brightly-colored leotards. As a smiling, happy Tracee Ellis Ross emulates her mother’s moves in front of a wide backdrop, fuzzy images of the elder Ross doing the same moves pop up in the background.
The actress also has some fun with the lyrics, making a visual reference to the “Every morning when we wake to make up for that piece of cake we ate last night” line by holding two cupcakes and biting into one.
The clip closes on a closeup of Diana Ross that fades into one of Tracee Ellis Ross.
“Thanks mom. What do you think?,” the younger Ross asks, laughing. “I think you’re so much hotter than me,” she offers before blowing a kiss and using the same bluish-purple “End” logo.
What started as a “fun experiment” and “surprise,” the younger Ross explains, led to profound insights about feeling good in your own body as she tried to capture the “joyful and empowered” feeling her mother radiates in 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?” Tracee Ellis Ross writes on her website, where she posted the video on Saturday. “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.”
Then she realized: “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’!”
The younger Ross says she hopes her tribute inspires people “to find and be in the joy of your own body.”
Watch Tracee Ellis Ross’ video below followed by Diana Ross’ original clip.
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