JOHANNESBURG – On The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, American actress Gabrielle Union talks about being a black actress in a segregated Hollywood, how society views blackness as inherently threatening and her experience as a survivor of rape.
“This book is a little of everything; it’s sad, it’s funny, it’s complicated, it’s you,” Noah says to Union.
“As creators, we generally are segregated, in LA, in New York, there are black actor parties, there are Hollywood black actor parties. And every so often, there is a sprinkle that gets to attend the white parties – the special magical negro.”
The quip draws loud laughs from the audience and the host.
Union continues: “So Prince brought all of these amazing, super diverse people together, and created a truly inclusive party, and it was a jam.”
And she elaborates on black Hollywood when nudged by Noah, who reads a passage from the book: “I have acted my entire career and most white actors would see my career and look at it the same way they look at breadcrumbs.”
Noah continues: “It seems like it’s nothing and yet it’s all you have.”
Union explains further: “Yeah. When you look at creators of colour and the budgets that we are given and what we are able to do, there are so many superstars that never get acknowledged.”
About being a black actor, she says: “If I wasn’t black, I would be so interested to see how many rooms I would get into. Because they still use phrases such as: ‘We are not gonna go black with that character.’ So I wish I had the luxury to say I’m just an actress. But I’m not. I’m a black woman and my acting is completely informed by my blackness.”
The two then continue to talk about other moments in the book, including motherhood, black people and children The Daily Show in the US, her sexual assault ordeal and how the family dealt with it, as well as how proudly sex positive she is.
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