Keshia Knight Pulliam Says \'Hardest Part\' of Ed Hartwell Divorce Drama Is Impact on Her Stepson: \'He Deserves to Be a Big Brother\'
Ellen Pompeo on Raising Her Mixed-Race Daughters to ‘See a Lot of Images of Beautiful, Powerful, Strong Black Women’
Ellen Pompeo is looking to the strong women of the world to set a good example for her girls.
Specifically, the mom of daughters Sienna May, 2 next month, and 6½-year-old Stella Luna celebrates the success of African American women — and makes it a point to show off their accomplishments to her children.
“My daughters are black so it’s very important to me that they see a lot of images of beautiful, powerful, strong black women,” the
“Every time there is a black woman on a magazine cover, whether it is Kerry Washington or whoever it is, I make sure that magazine is in my house and on my table. For me, that’s super important.”
Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.
Pompeo, whose daughters she shares with husband of almost nine years Chris Ivery, also makes sure these images of women are shown to her children while they watch television.
“Every time [Venus and Serena Williams] play tennis, I make sure my daughters watch them,” she says.
“I feel really fortunate that they are growing up in a time [in which] the first president my daughter knows is Barack Obama,” she shares. “That’s an incredible gift.”
For more from Ellen Pompeo, pick up the latest issue of
FILED UNDER: Ellen Pompeo , Exclusive , News , Parenting
Previous Story Ike Barinholtz Welcomes Daughter Payton June
Next Story Who Ya Gonna Call?! Watch Hilary Duff's Son Luca Belt Out <em>Ghostbusters</em> Theme
Halsey Wants \'to Be a Mom More Than a Pop Star\' After Suffering Miscarriage
Vine Star Hayes Grier Hospitalized After Car Accident
Brie Larson Thanks Fans for \'Tidal Wave of Support\' After
WATCH: Nathan Sykes Wows Fans at the PEOPLE Now Concert Series
PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.
Did she give birth to these two girls? Wouldn’t that make them just as white as they are black?
Good for her! For people who will object to the word “black”, she uses that word because that’s how they will be seen. Most people do not acknowledge the mixed backgrounds of black children except for their convenience. Also, people should be allowed to define themselves in the way that they want if they are indeed of that heritage. Unless you have a good argument to the contrary , don’t bother responding to me. Thanks and have a nice day.
I will be doing the same thing with my daughter. But with more than just sports and entertainment stars.
@Liz-yes they’re mixed children but apparently being white should be hush hush
White looks white and will no be questioned, so yes, her daughters will never be viewed as white.
Also, “MIXED” is not a race. to be an actual race (with its own culture, traditions, heritage, history) and all the political and social logistics that come with race, constitutes a lot more than just having parents of two different colors.
While I understand her desire to have images of strong, black women available to her daughters since her husband is black, her girls are also half white so why is she making this a skin color issue? There’s enough women out there that are strong, powerful women who have done amazing things in their careers and contributed to the world, so stop only pointing out the black women! You’re part of the problem by making it a skin color issue.
I make sure my girls see strong women of every race. I thought we were all supporting each other. Oh well….
To Gina and Liz, who obviously don’t understand, her daughters LOOK BLACK, AND WILL BE CONSIDERED BLACK. No one will say her girls are White, so she has to help them by pointing out positive role models for healthy self-esteems, since Blacks are seen much less on TV and media.
Kerry Washington? Did she feel compelled to tell that lie because most I talked to list Michelle Obama, Oprah or their mother not an actress on fake TV??
They are as much white as they are black, so I hope that she shows her girls plenty of successful white women, too. She is being very divisive. There is something about her that I have never liked; perhaps it is her “in your face” attitude.
Hey Ellen your kids are half white too! How about calling them mixed race? You and Barack Obama are confused about this.
This is what I can’t quite understand..parents or parent of biracial children only claim to be black..excuse me, they are NOT one color!
Good for her. Being white herself She knows they will grow up with many examples of strong white women but I think she understands as a parent of mixed race children you have to make an effort to make the kids understand and feel comfortable with both of their cultures.
Mixed are mongrel canines, not human. The scientific term is biracial, but they will never be considered white because they are not white. Obama, has it right, he is a black man, was always treated that way by society and the sum of his experiences. Raised in an all white home, he was never like his mother’s relatives. That is just a fact.
Her girls are brown skinned, so mixed race is not about color alone. There are millions of brown skinned, “black” people too.
@ Rodriguez, I agree that mixedrace is not a race or a culture and even if they are 50/50 they will never be treated as white because they are brown in color. Then again, brown isn’t a race or culture either.
I have two bi racial daughters. I personally never felt compelled to put black women around them. Simply because my husband has plenty of positive, motivated and successful women in his FAMILY. That’s the problem with society. We look to strangers, entertainers and athletes that we DON’T know to point out to our children. If you were to ask my adult daughters who their role models are, I’m hoping they say my husband or myself. Society actually thinks it’s okay to ask my daughters what they “are”. Or if my HUSBAND I are “together” when waiting to be seated at restaurant. It’s the same society that people want to use as examples of STRONG women. I try to expose my kids to different cultures and activities. I let them choose who their strong women role models on their own. It’s not based on anything other than respect and admiration. With that being said, they adore women of all races and are very in touch with who they are now, and who they will become.
how about just showing them powerful WOMEN.
People don’t go around calling themselves brown that doesn’t denote anything except their skin color which a person can see by looking at them. It certainly doesn’t explain their heritage & culture. neither does saying mixed or biracial. People are a lot more than skin tone.
Clueless White People on July 28th, 2016
White people created the one drop rule. The one-drop rule is a social and legal principle of racial classification that was historically prominent in the United States asserting that any person with even one ancestor of sub-Saharan-African ancestry (“one drop” of black blood) is considered black (Negro in historical terms). This concept evolved over the course of the 19th century and became codified into law in the 20th century. It was associated with the principle of “invisible blackness” and is an example of hypodescent, the automatic assignment of children of a mixed union between different socioeconomic or ethnic groups to the group with the lower status.
Yeah, her kids are one color they are brown with black curly hair.
While celebrating the African American part of her daughters’ heritage is appropriate and important, they are also still half Caucasian. African American blood doesn’t negate Caucasian blood or vice versa. It doesn’t matter how they’re ‘viewed’ – that’s in the eye, heart and mind of the beholder. Children should be taught the truth about their heritage, all of it, and then be taught not to be defined by how they are viewed by others. If all the Black heroes (men & women) in history had defined themselves as others saw them, we wouldn’t have any Black heroes. Keep it real, for goodness’ sake, but keep it honest.
Ugh, why don’t you get it? when you see a mixed kid, do you treat them the same as a white kid? probably, unfortunately, not. you treat them like they’re black….so they’re black.
This woman has it right she knows her children will never be seen as white so she is raising them the way the world will see them…and that is free from DELUSIONS.
It’s one thing to call themselves Black or African American in a census, but they should be taught to embrace ALL of who they are while finding their personal heroes on their own. There are many strong women out there. Her husband is light skinned, perhaps their daughters are, too. Teach them to embrace the human race and emulate their female heroes, while being proud of who they are and where they came from – geographically and genetically.
Ellen is Italian and I’m quiet sure they will be raised knowing the Italian side of their heritage, just as much as they will know the African American side, learning from their father.
Bi-racial is an accurate and more appropriate word than ‘mixed’. Mixed is a litter of puppies. These are little human beings with a bi-racial heritage. They should and likely will grow up to be proud of who they are, but perhaps if she would give them a broader base of encouragement that includes both their black and their caucasian genes, they wouldn’t see that line between the two everywhere they look. This is what our children should evolve to see instead of a line between racial differences, a circle around all of us as human beings.
Her daughters will be seen as black, not as white or mixed. And it’s good she’ll show them beautiful, successful women in the media. That will help them with the self esteem and confidence.
Seriously why are people so judgmental on other women and what they do and how they raise their children?
I love reading what Ellen has to say. She’s always so smart and wise, and especially when she talks about her daughters. They will be amazing cause they have a strong, role model like her.
And to some comments here: Ellen is realistic, she knows what others see and the racism sadly, there still is in 2016, and will continue to be. They will be seen as black. So yes, watching beautiful, successful women in magazines or on TV, or wherever, is great.
While I am sorry that Ellen felt that she had to negate her children’s white heritage and focus solely on their black bloodline, I do commend her for making sure that her girls see powerful, confident women. I only wish that Ellen voiced that she wanted to make sure that her girls saw a rainbow of strong, confident females. Her daughters are more than black, white, or mixed. They should only be seen as two wonderful daughters of a loving marriage by 2 people who love them.
I have an issue with white people (or Black) who have mixed race children and refer to them as only 1 race (when its very evident they are mixed 50/50) As a mixed Black/White woman, I can’t grasp how a White woman would tell her mixed race children that they are just Black……Just as our mixed race President refers to himself as Black AND White so should all parents of mixed children raise them to embrace BOTH sides. #IAmMixed5050 #BlackAndWhite
I love how white people are so mad that this white women refers to her daughters as black. The same white people who if they saw these little girls they would question if she was their mom “cause they look black”. Which happens to my white sister-in-law all the time. So yes she is right. The world will see them as black. Obviously she is white so her daughters see her as a strong role model. But there are TONS of white when showcased as successful. Even though there are just as many black women that are successful they are not always acknowledged for it. These little girls basically live in “Hollywood” which is still mostly Caucasian. Ellen wants her daughters to see women that look like them so that they are not always comparing themselves or wishing their hair was blonde or straight. That is why most moms buy dolls that look like their daughters. If you cannot understand this then you are the definition of white privilege. You should try to understand people of different back grounds so you can see why people of color feel this way. I applaud her for being aware!
I understand that society will see her daughters as black, as they see most mixed raced people. However I think it’s offensive when people who are black and white only identify with their black side. I know people like that, they say, “Oh no! I’m black, not white.” It’s as if they don’t have any white blood in them at all. I know they’ll never be seen as white, but that doesn’t mean they have to disrespect white people and their white heritage. It pisses me off when they do that. I have a white friend who has three half black children, and she raised them to only think of themselves as black and to deny their white side. She and I have had many arguments about this. Plus their black fathers (she has 3 kids by 3 different men) all abandoned them, and she had to raise her kids on her own with the help of her white family. Yet they keep identifying solely as black with no white blood at all.
Why are people so hung up on the fact that she makes a conscious effort to showcase positive black female role models. Just because she didn’t say anything about positive white role models doesn’t mean it matters any less. She’s there mother, she’s white, and she’s successful they see that everyday. It’s not about 1 race being better but he children have brown skin and she needs to show them that there brown skin is beautiful and not just to her but to the world. It’s important for them to see that people of all colors can be successful. I would expect the same if her children were half Asian or any other race. It cannot be denied that right now we are fighting against a lot of negative. Even when you don’t consider all the very serious issues we have in this country minorities just aren’t as well represented numbers wise in print and other forms of media. You’re not going to see a no name minority score a major cover. It’s gonna be someone who has established their fame or the new it girl and then they are deigned worthy of the cover spot. So as a parent to mixed race children she is making a conscious effort to reinforce to them that black is beautiful and she wants her children to identify with the positive.
Unless you are the mother of an African American daughter, you will not understand what Ellen is trying to do. My daughter is AA and I am a caucasian mom. The other day she was watching a Disney movie and she asked me if you had to be white to be a princess. She’s six years old. I had to reassure my beautiful daughter that no, of course not. Princesses are every color – but she doesn’t see that in front of her. I now see the world thru her eyes and there is a huge lack of strong, powerful black girls and women represented in the world she sees. It is the fault of the media and the white culture in America. Ellen making a concerted effort to show her daughter, in every way possible, that women of all color can be good, strong and successful.
We can’t walk thru life denying that people are different colors. Believe me – my daughter notices every day. And she notices the lack of beautiful, black women being presented on TV and movies. I’m glad to see that our world is changing and that we see beautiful examples more and more every day.
That’s cool that she is making them aware of the accomplishments on women of color so they can know that they have ability to accomplish the same things.
I would think you would want your daughters to think of themselves as “white.” I mean, given the choice–no brainer.
Why in the world wouldn’t you, as a white woman, prefer that your daughters think of themselves as “white.” Given the choice between being “black” and “white,” it’s a no brainer, 100% “White!”
her husband is black. what don’t people get! is obama black. yes
My son is biracial. To the world, he does not have soft curly hair, blue or hazel eyes and his skin is not creamy/lily white.
To the world he will be a black boy who will one day grow up to become a BLACK MAN and not because his white father doesn’t matter. He sure does BUT….that’s the way the world will see him and that’s how society will treat him. Not as a biracial child but as a black child/man.
So I completely understand where she is coming from. It’s really not that hard to get so the people on here talking about race doesn’t matter….keep living in your dream world.
Race doesn’t matter inside your home…..you and your children cannot stay indoors forever. The world. Society. Has no problem letting you know just who you are regardless of your make up.
I will never understand why people get so worked up over little snippets of an interview that People cose to printed. You don’t know the context of her comments. I am sure she was asked something about raising biracial children. Relax everybody. Relax.
Burrito Boyz Bring Food and Inspiration to San Diego’s Homeless
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.