Ahead of taking on hosting duties at the 2018 American Music Awards, Tracee Ellis Ross spoke with Billboard News host Tetris Kelly on Monday (Oct. 8), chatting about what viewers can expect from the big night and why she believes awards show stages are the perfect places for people to “use their voices” when it comes to political issues.
Speaking of the awards show, Ross tells Billboard that she plans to wear outfits from black designers throughout the event. She also shares 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 dance 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 says of Swift’s open letter, which encouraged fans to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, as well as endorsed a handful of Democratic candidates and criticized Republican Tennessee representative and Congress 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 actress replies, “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,” she continues. “And when you have a platform, I think it’s a good place to actually speak loudly.”
The 2018 American Music Awards will broadcast live from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.