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Gabrielle Union already ranks pretty high on the list of our favorite people in the world, but her new interview with xoNecole might just put her right on top. The Being Mary Jane star, who has a memorable cameo in the upcoming controversial film Birth of a Nation, sat down for a long interview with the celebrity blogger and dropped more truth bombs and pearls of wisdom that we can even list here.

Bookmark the article to read in full when you have the time (it’s worth it), but for now, here are a few choice thoughts from the lengthy piece:

On the decision to pen an open letter about the Nate Parker controversy in the LA Times:

“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 shit if I don’t stand up for what I’ve always stood up for since I became a rape survivor.”

On noticing white privilege among her peers in Hollywood:

“It’s been very fascinating to see that so many people are so resistant to the idea of oppression in America. They think you can just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and work hard enough to achieve the American Dream.

“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 fuck and they get heated. Similar to watching people have conversations about consent.”

On being asked to do a lap dance on screen for Cradle 2 the Grave:

“It was the first time in my career where I was cognizant of the fact that there was this assumption that as a ‘black woman,’ I knew how to dance like a stripper, make my ass clap, and back it up into a camera while understanding my angles. Fatima Robinson had to be hired to choreograph the lap dance.”

“After Cradle 2 the Grave, people were pausing the lap dance scene to take screenshots of my body, and as a sexual assault survivor, it was mortifying. I felt so naked, vulnerable and like a target.” 

On slut-shaming:

“If other people try to tell you what’s acceptable when its comes to your sexuality, you have to call bullshit; last I checked, the only person my vagina was attached to was me.”

On the moment she realized how low her self esteem had gotten:

“[When I was a senior in college,] I wanted nothing more than to be cast in the 2Pac ‘California Love’ music video. I stood in line with girls I knew from USC, UCLA, Long Beach State – educated, Christian girls, we all waited in line, for our chance to dance in front of 2Pac and 25 of his closest friends because there was something about being chosen that was so intoxicating that we objectified ourselves and we were okay with it.”

“I always come back to that experience because my self-esteem was so low that all I wanted was to be chosen. [The thought was] if that person chooses me then I must be worthwhile. When people say, ‘You’re so lucky Dwyane Wade chose you,’ I’m like, ‘No, I chose myself.’ Getting this man down the aisle isn’t an accomplishment. Just being chosen isn’t an accomplishment.”

On lessons from her mother about being “woke”:

“My mom saw that I wasn’t being a leader; I was being complacent so understanding black liberation and black resistance in the face of adversity and the face of oppression was so desperately needed at that time in my life. To stand up and lead, makes you a target and I thought that being black was big enough target so I didn’t want anyone to notice me but my mother said, ‘That’s not the woman I’m raising. I didn’t raise you to be silent.’”


Gabrielle Union Says She Had a Talk With Lena Dunham About White Privilege  was originally published on