Gabrielle Union calls out tokenism in Hollywood

Gabrielle Union has called out the entertainment industry for failing to adequately show the diversity of America onscreen.

The Being Mary Jane star spoke out in an interview with Ebony magazine, in which she discussed her career, her marriage to former NBA star Dwyane Wade and her activism. The 45-year-old actress will soon be seen onscreen in the new Bad Boys spin-off with Jessica Alba, a rare opportunity to see two women of colour fronting a major TV series, and one she believes is long overdue.

“I’ve been the one chip in the cookie long enough. I don’t want to be the magical Negro,” she sighed. “I don’t feel extra special when the White gaze is upon me. I don’t feel invincible.”

Gabrielle went on to criticise Hollywood for having a limited view of what diversity looks like, with some executives believing that if “two or three” people of colour are present in the room, their targets have been met.

“I don’t want to be there by myself; in fact, I don’t want there to be two or three people in the room and have someone shout, ‘We’ve achieved diversity!’ No, there’s three,” she stated. “It’s like we’re supposed to be a microcosm of the world. I don’t want to be a part of the hoodwinking of America, of our global community.”

The stylish star, who made her name in films Bring It On and Bad Boys, has previously called out the movie industry for standing still when it comes to diversity.

“Half the time, (African-Americans) don’t even get the opportunity to fail… At least let me audition, so you can say I just wasn’t good enough,” she told Ocean Drive magazine in April 2016.

It’s not just black actors though. Gabrielle added that Hollywood needs to become more accepting of minority groups in general.

“It’s still grossly unequal – and that goes for the Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and LGBT communities… We have a long, long way to go,” she concluded.

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