Gabrielle Union led a touching tribute to Black Panther costume designer Ruth E. Carter during the Black Design Collective on Sunday (14Apr19).
The actress honoured the Oscar winner during the event at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, during which Carter’s career achievements on over 50 films was highlighted.
Union, who worked with Carter on her TV series Being Mary Jane, praised her passion and nurturing presence on set.
“Every fitting I’ve ever had with Ruth was in her home,” she said from the stage. “She welcomes us in. She makes us feel protected. She literally gives us wings so we can all fly. Who really is doing that? She made Mary Jane a fashion icon. That wasn’t me, Mary Jane would have been in some basketball shorts. That was Ruth.”
The star also shared how her New York & Company clothing line was inspired by her collaboration with Carter on the series.
“New York & Company was like Being Mary Jane,” she shared. “I wanted to create a line inspired by Mary Jane. Well, you don’t get inspired by Mary Jane without Ruth E. Carter.”
The gathering marked the first event for the new organisation, launched to fight inequality in the fashion world – and Union insisted Carter was the perfect honouree: “She doesn’t talk about it (equality). She is about it,” the actress said. “So all of us in here who get that baton passed to us, the Black Design Collective, that’s what this is about.
“It’s not about talking about diversity and inclusion. It’s not about begging somebody for scraps at their d**n table. It’s about saying, ‘I don’t need your table in your whack a** house. I’ll build my own house…'”