6:16 PM / Monday August 15, 2022

7 Mar 2013

‘I Used To Shrink In The Presence of Other Beautiful Women’ Gabrielle Union speaks transparently during Essence’s BWIH Luncheon

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March 7, 2013 Category: Oasis Posted by:

[ED. NOTE: Lovely and talented actress Gabrielle Union gave a heartfelt, revealing and inspirational speech at Essence Magazine’s Annual Black Women in
Hollywood Luncheon about self-esteem and the importance of sisterhood among Black women recently. Online magazine Madame Noire ran a snippet of her

By Jazmine Denise Rogers

madame noire

When most people look at beautiful Black women in Hollywood, they don’t always see flawed individuals who sometimes feel scared and even a little
self-concious like we do. It sometimes becomes difficult to fathom that someone so talented, so exquisite, so fierce could possibly be battling with
self-esteem issues or feeling a little less than adequate.

During Essence’s Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel, actress Gabrielle Union delivered a captivatingly powerful speech that
served as a reminder that behind those images are real people. She fearlessly tackled common issues that still plague the entertainment industry today and
spoke boldly against them. Check out an excerpt of her speech below:

“We live in a town that rewards pretending. I had been pretending to be fierce and fearless for a very long time. I was a victim masquerading as a
survivor. I stayed when I should have run. I was quiet when I should have spoken up. I turned a blind eye to injustice instead of having the courage to
stand up for what’s right. I used to shrink in the presence of other dope beautiful women. I used to revel in gossip and rumors, and I lived for the
negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt whose shine diminished my own.

I took joy in people’s pain and I tap-danced on their misery. I chased and accepted a love and a marriage that wasn’t worthy of a date. I lived to hear
‘Hey, if we’ll go Black, it’ll totally be you,’ as if the routine exclusion of women of color in the casting process is okay, as long as I’m considered.


It’s easy to pretend ‘to be fierce and fearless because living your truth takes real courage. Real fearless and fierce women admit mistakes and they work
to correct them. We stand up and we use our voices for things other than self promotion. We don’t stand by and let racism and sexism and homophobia run
rapid on our watch. Real fearless and fierce women complement other women and we recognize and embrace that their shine in no way diminishes our light and
that it actually makes our light shine brighter.

So many of us in this room are sisters. We don’t always get to see each other and its good to see you here today. Women who we’ve laughed with, cried with,
and struggled with, thank you for not turning your back on me, thank you for not tap dancing on my misery, even when I wasn’t always returning the favor.”

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