Gabrielle Union Speaks On Her Black Experience In Hollywood & Appearing On ‘Friends’: Assimilate, Disappear, Be Complacent

Gabrielle Union Speaks On Her Black Experience In Hollywood & Appearing On ‘Friends’: Assimilate, Disappear, Be Complacent

Gabrielle Union doesn’t hold anything back. When discussing what it’s like to be a Black entertainer in Hollywood, she’s always conscious and concise in her message.

In an interview that’s surfaced on Twitter, Gabrielle Union openly talked about her experience as a Black actress in Hollywood working in predominantly white spaces, and more specifically, her experience as a Black woman working as a guest star on the hit television show “Friends” in season 7.

In the interview, she said:

“That dual consciousness thought is what prepares me to then do an episode of “Friends” after being on “City of Angels.”  When they’re like, ‘Nikki or Gabby, do you know what a mark is?’ Yeah, I’m an actor. Didn’t have to audition for this job because I was just on a hit show on CBS. But the man talked to me in sing-song voice the whole week. But, I’ve been there…’Do Buckwheat. We love it when you entertain us. That’s where we’re most comfortable. Assimilate, disappear, be complacent. We’re you’re nice and safe.'”


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She had similar sentiments in a 2016 interview with Harper’s Bazaar. Back then, Gabrielle Union explained [as a Black woman] that on TV and film sets in Hollywood, “there’s a sense of being hyper-visible or invisible.”

She asked,

“When do you stand up and point out every micro-aggressions, and when do you stand down so you’re not the angry black person all the time? It’s tiring. It feels like another job that you’re not getting paid for-that is all encompassing.”

Gabrielle Union then explained,

“In order to begin to see change start to occur, we have to be willing to have the conversation. Maybe I can help to explain the oppressive systems that have been benefited and allowed them to say these careless, insensitive and offensive things.”

Actress and host Aisha Tyler was the first black actor to have a recurring role in the final two seasons of the 90’s classic show “Friends.” She played Charlie Wheeler, the girlfriend of Ross Geller (portrayed by David Schwimmer).

Aisha Tyler

David Schwimmer recently spoke about the lack of diversity on set and his push to cast a woman of color as his girlfriend, saying:

“I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color.”

What are your thoughts on Gabrielle Union’s comments? Let us know in the comments!

Authored by: MiMi James