A Conversation with Gabrielle Union
Jon Kopaloff/ Getty Images
Yesterday, Gabrielle Union tweeted out what she called, “One of [her] favorite interviews of [her] career.” She sat down with Zon D’Amour of xoNecole.com to talk about white privilege, sexuality, consent, The Birth of a Nation and her op-ed on the controversy surrounding her co-star alleged rapist Nate Parker.
Every time I have written about The Birth of a Nation and Nate Parker, I have repeated the point that these conversations need to continue. I hoped that when we talk about the film and its influence, we would also talk about consent and sexual abuse – even if it gets repetitive and even if it feels like we are tackling the same sh-t over and over. Gabrielle Union is giving life to these hopes. Unlike her co-star, she is not shying away from the uncomfortable subjects that are now intrinsically linked to The Birth of a Nation. Here’s what Gabrielle says about not backing down from speaking up, after admitting that she did consider the impact it would have on her brand:
“And if I take myself out of the conversation because it’s uncomfortable and because I’m worried about my brand, then my brand ain’t sh-t if I don’t stand up for what I’ve always stood up for since I became a rape survivor.”
This is coming from an actress who still has a lot of career left. She’s still hustling every day for better roles and better opportunities in a town where she has to be twice as good to even be considered. Still, she says f-ck the brand and stands boldly in her truth and commitment to survivors of sexual assault. She goes on to elaborate on the uncomfortable conversations she has been having lately, specifically about white privilege. D’Amour asks Gabrielle this question: “Do you think your The Birth Of A Nation co-stars are more cognizant of white privilege?
Gabrielle said she didn’t have the chance to chat with her white co-stars, like Armie Hammer, about their personal woke-ness but that, “We will see on their next film if they’re still talking about the necessity of addressing oppression and racial inequality.” True.
She goes on to say she’s been actively seeking out conversations with people who do not share her opinions:
“In order to begin to see change start to occur, we have to be willing to have conversations with people who have different opinions than us. I’ve already talked to Lena Dunham; I would love to talk to Kate Upton and Amy Schumer. Maybe I can help to explain the oppressive systems that have benefited and allowed them to say these careless, insensitive and offensive things. Those conversations are awkward as f-ck and they get heated.”
I’m speculating here but it sounds like Gabrielle Union and Lena Dunham had a heated, awkward AF conversation. What I would give to have been a fly on the wall for that. I also LOVE that she called out Kate Upton (please have a seat Kate Upton) and Amy Schumer.
Gabrielle says a lot of really smart and relatable things in this interview but one thing I really want to highlight is what she says about validation and accomplishment. We’ve established that Gabrielle Union is a talented, brilliant, badass warrior for assault victims and one of the bravest women in Hollywood and yet, some people still think her greatest success is marrying a basketball player. I’ll leave you with the quote that made me want to tweet an entire 140 characters of the black hands clapping emoji:
“The fact that I made it down the aisle with Dwyane Wade isn’t an accomplishment. Graduating from UCLA is an accomplishment, being a sexual assault survivor is an accomplishment, being a part of The National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women (NAC) appointed by President Obama– that’s an accomplishment.’ Getting this man down the aisle isn’t an accomplishment. Just being chosen isn’t an accomplishment. “
You can read the entire conversation with Gabrielle Union here.