Gabrielle Union wants to use her platform to educate and inspire. The Birth of a Nation star has already been vocal about her director and co-star Nate Parker’s rape allegations, but she recently told XoNecole that she has no plans to boycott the buzzed-about film.
“Some people have said, ‘If you’re a feminist, you should boycott the film.’ And I was like, ‘But wait, my role in the film and the reason I signed on was to talk about sexual violence,’” she explained. “So it feels a** backwards to shirk that responsibility when the controversy swirling around our film is around sexual violence so who better to speak on it than me? 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 s**t if I don’t stand up for what I’ve always stood up for since I became a rape survivor.”
Though Union, 43, admitted she didn’t get the chance to spend much time with her white co-stars, like Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, on set, she did say that they are “definitely aware of what white privilege is.”
“Now how aware they are of their own privilege, I don’t know because that comes with consistent behavior modification,” she added. “We will see on their next film if they’re still talking about the necessity of addressing oppression and racial inequality.”
Union thinks that the only way to see progress both with sexual assault and racial inequality in America is to open up conversations.
“I’ve already talked to Lena Dunham,” she noted of the Girls creator who recently publicly apologized to Odell Beckham Jr. after she made jokes about how he did not want to sleep with her at the Met Ball. “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**k and they get heated. Similar to watching people have conversations about consent.”
Schumer posted a controversial tweet earlier this month that has since been deleted. When a social researcher named Paulo dos Santo tweeted, “Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, et. al refuse to see that misogyny among men of color, while hideously prevalent, is no more so than among white men,” she replied, “How would you know? Statistically who is hollering at you in the street more pa?”
This is unacceptable. You should be proud to be an American. Especially on 9/11 when we should support each other. https://t.co/qFozwaH9Bu— Kate Upton (@KateUpton) September 11, 2016
Supermodel Upton tweeted about NFL players who chose to take a knee during the “National Anthem” on September 11, calling their act of protest “unacceptable,” and saying they should “be proud to be an American.”