When Gabrielle Union isn’t busy penning best-selling memoirs or starring on BET’s Being Mary Jane, she’s being an advocate and spreading knowledge, be it face-to-face or with one of her game-changing tweets.
The talented multi-threat sat down with InStyle recently to share insight on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, as well as discuss how the political climate has affected her parenting style.
“It’s not a Hollywood issue,” Union said of the recent wave of women’s equality movements. “This is happening in every corner of the world. And certainly in America, there are so many women who have been in pain for a long, long time, and have felt ignored. They felt like their stories didn’t matter, they felt like they were screaming into a hurricane and no one cared.”
For Gabrielle—who has publicly discussed and written about her harrowing rape at gunpoint—giving every woman a voice is paramount to furthering the cause.
“There’s billions of women in this world, and every one of those women has a story that deserves to be told, and every one of those women deserves peace,” she said. “If you can’t have peace and feel safe at work, or in your home, traveling, there’s no peace for any of us, and we won’t rest until we all have the ability to have peace in our lives, and in our work, and in our families.”
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When asked to comment on the next steps for Time’s Up, Gabrielle assured us the movement is only in its infancy.
“This is an ever-evolving moment,” she explained. “You’ll see the movement shape shift and expand, and become more inclusive, and really center the voices of the whistle-blowers, center the voices of the most marginalized among us. I think is just the beginning, just a drop in the bucket. Literally, hold onto your hats, because this is so far beyond Hollywood. People are fed up.”
As Gabrielle’s four-season stint on Being Mary Jane comes to an end later this year, the actress is diverting her focus to film. She’ll star in the buzzy thriller Breaking In, out in May, which chronicles a mother’s fight to rescue her children after they’re held hostage in her own home. “[It’s] almost like the reverse Panic Room,” Union said.
Given the nature of the film, Union said she allowed her close relationship with her stepsons to inform her performance.
“I would do anything for them,” she told us. That being said, Union is aware that the role of a stepmother isn’t viewed with the same gravity that she feels in her day-to-day life.
“[When the trailer launched], I read one comment, the only negative comment, that was like ‘Why did they pick her? She’s not a real mom.’” Gabrielle shared. “For all of us who have non-traditional families; for all of us who care for children that we did not birth, the nurturing and the care and the love will propel you to heights you didn’t think were possible.”
It’s not only her husband’s children that she feels a responsibility toward. “I would move mountains for children I’ve never met before—that’s just the kind of person I am. So I think I speak for people who have birthed their children, adopted their children, had kids in every different kind of way you can have kids, family members who are taking care of other family members, older moms, younger moms … This movie is about the love of caregivers; the love of somebody who gives a sh— about the safety and sanctity of a child.”
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When it comes to the trying task of parenting in the Trump era (and parenting black boys, in particular), Union and her NBA player husband Dwayne Wade are quick to right wrongs.
“What’s happening in the White House is the antithesis of American values,” the actress said. “You have to constantly reinforce compassion and inclusion, and the beauty of diversity, and the beauty in our differences, while at the same time celebrating our uniqueness.”
“What makes you dope is specifically that you are an amazing black man,” she tells her stepsons. “You’re not amazing in spite of your blackness, you’re amazing because of your blackness. Even if the guy in the White House says differently, we know he’s crazy, so we have to constantly reinforce the good, because it’s not coming from the administration.”