Gabrielle Union Wants Us to Love Black Women ‘As They Show Up’

Gabrielle Union couldn’t have a more perfect name. The actor understands that the most important part of her job is not the glitz and glam (though she’s pretty incredible at that part too), but the power of unity. Throughout her career, she’s made it a point to uplift others—especially other Black women—through charity work, her production company I’ll Have Another, and using her platform to speak out against racism in the industry.

Union’s latest project is a panel she’s co-hosting with Taraji P. Henson and Sally Beauty on February 22. The roundtable will not only feature the two celebrity brand owners, but the Black female founders of smaller hair brands including The Doux, True + Pure Texture, and Mielle Organics. It may seem strange that these women who are technically competitors are coming together, but according to Union, at the end of the day, it’s bigger than selling shampoo and edge control. 

“When I started my hair line, one of the first people to reach out was Taraji,” Union tells Glamour. “She was like, ‘Send me products. I’ll promote it.’ And always in the back of your mind, you’re like, “But you have a hair line. Are you sure?'” But then Henson reminded Union that she was one of the very first people to post Henson’s line when it launched. “That’s what we do because there’s enough space for all of us. And so we’re like, ‘Okay, how do we take what we do for each other, and expand that?’ And so, at Taraji’s behest, we created this round table of founders.”

“You just wish that you could have done things sooner to make sure that everyone got included in these kinds of projects,” Union continues. “But what I love about how Taraji and I have always moved through Hollywood and the world, is this world is big enough for all of us to thrive. And sometimes when we put ourselves or we get put in little boxes, we can’t always see what the others are doing, or what they’ve demanded and gotten, or what worked, or why something didn’t work. And sharing those resources, sharing that information, being mentors… It just wasn’t always encouraged. But the way it’s always worked with us is we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. And if I have information, you have information. And if I have a platform, you have a platform. How can we expand that? And that’s what we’ve come up with with the founder’s round table.” 

“It’s easy to support people as they’re winning an Oscar or winning the Super Bowl or whatever,” she says. “It’s easier to be a fan and support them. But when people are at their darkest moment, who really shows up? And when it’s time for real solidarity, who really shows up? And, luckily we walk the walk, and that we talk. So hopefully it inspires more people to do the same.”

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