Tracee Ellis Ross is giving credit where credit is due. At last night’s People’s Choice Awards, the actress honoured her mother, Diana Ross, during her acceptance speech for the Fashion Icon Award.
Per People, the actress’s speech reminisced about how she was introduced to fashion and how playing in her mother’s closet and seeing the legendary performer decked out in designer creations solidified her lifelong relationship with the industry. As for her own fashion for the big night, she wore a billowy asymmetrical-hemmed dress courtesy of Alexander McQueen, which she paired with thigh-high leather boots and a cage-style corset. She styled her hair in a flowing, long braid.
“Obviously, I have to thank the icon herself, my mom—not only for her great parenting … but also her example, her sense of style, her epic closet, and her glamour that introduced me to the power of fashion,” said Tracee during her speech. “After she would finish a show and the curtain would fall, I would go onstage as a little girl and I would collect all of the beads that had fallen off of her sparkly dresses so that I could have pieces of the magic, seeds of the fashion dreams that I was cultivating for myself.”
The Black-ish star also thanked other influences in her life, including designers Thierry Mugler and Azzedine Alaïa; her personal stylist, Karla Welch; and her previous stints in publishing at outlets like New York Magazine and Mirabella as helping shape her now-iconic style.
“I wear my insides on the outside, and if featuring Black designers at the American Music Awards helps someone see the power of Black artistry, or if joining the call to wear black at the Golden Globes led to solidarity with women saying time’s up on sexual harassment, then you heard me loud and clear. … If fashion is the thing that draws you in, then use it as a tool for transformation,” she continued.
Before finishing her speech, Tracee reminded viewers of the power and influence within fashion, and how utilizing what one wears can make a statement about who they are and what they believe in.
“Use fashion as an entrance. Let your clothes be your superhero cape, allowing you to be best you you can be,” she said. “Activate the clothes through your joy and commitment to the world that you want to see. It doesn’t matter if you wear black tie or a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, but suit up and show up, because our action creates our destiny, our joy creates space for our freedom. GASenate.com, donate, get involved, stay engaged, people, we’ve got work to do. Thank you, I am a fashion icon!”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.