Gabrielle Union On Parenting Black Children Amid Racial Tension: There’s Terror In My Body
Gabrielle Union is the epitome of a busy momma! She is celebrating Pride Month, Juneteenth, and the joys of parenthood all at one time! She opened up about what parenting has taught her in her latest Self Magazine cover, which was shot by her 13-year-old stepdaughter, Zaya Wade.
Gabrielle Union said of the photoshoot:
“I’m just interested to see myself through Zaya’s eyes. I think that’s really actually really interesting. Because I trust her. And she has a story to tell…It’s always interesting to me, the pictures magazines choose. And rarely do I like the pictures. Like it’s very, very rare. I’m always like, There is no way this picture is good. Like, What are you seeing? And it’s so interesting to see different people’s perspectives of you…I love her as an artist. I mean, obviously I love her period, but where her mind is going and where her creativity is going is just dope to see. I’m just really interested to see what she comes up with.”
On how she and Dwyane Wade parent during times of racial tension:
“For us as Black parents of Black children, you’re seeing the hypocrisy, and that hypocrisy leading to death. That hypocrisy leading to arrests. That hypocrisy leading to abuse and uneven enforcement of rules that we’re all supposed to be following. It’s terrifying, honestly…We are feeling a lot of different things right now. Personally, I’m anxious, I’m depressed, I’m enraged, I’m heartbroken. I’m experiencing so many different feelings that these words don’t even carry the weight of it all. Waking up each morning to the nonstop murder of my brothers and sisters is excruciatingly painful. There’s terror in my body. As a family, we are all trying to cope. We are open with each other about the mixed feelings we are having and talk about the ways in which we can help bring attention to the lives that have been lost but also how we can help create real change to a system so inherently wrong across the board.”
Interestingly enough, the actress likens raising Black children in this social climate to raising children during a global health pandemic:
“I read somewhere on Twitter today, somebody said that Black folks and marginalized folks have been sheltering in place for centuries because we know it’s always been safer at home than out in the streets, and we were doing that before the pandemic. It’s that fear that so many marginalized mothers have, when their children are physically outside of their eyesight. And in these times, there are no rules. Nothing makes sense. Laws are not enforced, or they’re unevenly enforced, and people are getting away with breaking the law with impunity. You don’t even know what to say, because the hypocrisy is just rampant.”
Gabrielle Union gives her advice for parenting children who identify with the LGBTQI community:
“It’s okay not to have all the answers. The most important thing is to make sure your child knows you love and accept them. You can legit say, ‘Okay, I don’t have all the answers, but what I do know is that I love you, and I’m going to be on this journey with you, and we’re going to learn together…I love that in our household there are so many different ways of expressing ourselves. And watching Zaya clock all of it. Right? That there’s no one way to be a woman. There’s no one way to be a Black woman. There’s no one way to be beautiful. There’s no one way to dress or to love your body…Zaya was like, ‘But Amandla Stenberg doesn’t shave her armpits.’ And I was like, ‘No, she does not!’…You are a woman because you are. Because that is your identity.”
As far as racism is concerned, she says there is no point in entertaining assimilation:
“You cannot price your way out of, educate your way out of, move yourself away from racism, anti-Blackness, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia. All of those things exist no matter how successful you are. No matter how you speak. They exist. So this idea of teaching our children to constantly be shape-shifting to make themselves more palatable or less scary for people who are committed to oppressing you anyway, no matter what you do, I rejected it. I started to reject that. Is it our job to constantly shape-shift and comport ourselves to make someone else, who’s committed to misunderstanding or oppressing us, more comfortable?That seems actually a** backward.”
Lastly, the former “America’s Got Talent” host commented on speaking up for yourself at work. She, again, addressed her reported harassment at the hands of Simon Cowell:
“The second I had to ask to, you know, not be poisoned at work, I became a problem. There’s no way I feel okay about allowing someone to openly flaunt breaking the law and exposing all of the dope crew and the production and the talent, and all these people, to carcinogenic toxic chemicals—the legit definition of a toxic work environment. Who am I if I can’t stand up in this? It’s legit. It’s not an opinion; this is the law. I should never have been put in this position, and there should have been measures put in place to deal with these kinds of things, and it should never have been put on me. But here we go. And I have to say something, and I have to stand up for all of us. But with that can come consequences…there’s all kinds of things that I regret not being vocal about…And then you start worrying about paying bills. And this is a real fear, and it’s legitimate. And I absolutely understand when people make the choice to keep their head down, go along, you know, do not threaten the livelihood, because you are head of household. I absolutely understand that. Because, honestly? You run a big risk in speaking out and being the first one out there talking about something. And it’s your head getting cut off first.”
What are your thoughts on Gabrielle Union’s statements? Let us know in the comments.