Video: Tracee Ellis Ross Shows Us How To 'Work That Body'


It's hard to believe that the video for Diana Ross' "Work That Body" was considered "risque" at the time, but in 1981 not many were ready to see a woman (esp. a woman of color) prancing happily about in clinging swimsuits, celebrating every single curve. Still Miss, Ross, The Boss didn't give a flip, as she tossed her mane and made people witness her glorious fitness, slyly educating the masses that sometimes a woman just wants to love, own, and present her body without seeking anyone's approval.


34 years later, Ross' daughter, actress/comedienne and all-around lovely lady, Tracee Ellis Ross now in retrospect realizes like a lot of us how important the video was. In tribute, Tracee has re-created the exercise-themed video, right down to every flex and every swimsuit, making sure to keep the hair blown, the mood curtained in a hazy '80s glow, and the attitude carefree and joyous, as she flexes to the funky beat. While #WorkThatBody2015 is Tracee giving a sweet and fun tribute to her mother, the Black-ish actress hopes that the visual will urge more women to feel free to love and enjoy the bodies that they are in.

She elaborates via her website:
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. 
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. Hope you have as much fun watching it as I did recreating it, but most of all I hope it inspires you to find and be in the joy of your own body!
Eat your heart out!



+ Photo source via Tracee Ellis Ross' Twitter
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