Hollywood’s black elite came together for the annual Essence “Black Women in Hollywood” Luncheon weeks ago. Among those honored was Gabrielle Union, who received the “Fierce and Fearless” Award. Dressed in green vintage Versace dress, the actress shed light on her past insecurities and fear of success in a touching speech.
“We live in a town that rewards pretending. I had been pretending to be fierce and fearless for a very long time,” she admitted to the audience. “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.”
The brave actress also challenged onlookers to live courageously by admitting and correcting mistakes. Racism, sexism and homophobia were identified on as types of poison for the fierce and fearless woman. “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.”
Gabrielle’s stance on unifying black women in Hollywood was a highlight of the night’s speeches. She concluded by thanking those who have supported her without getting the same in return.
“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.”
Check out the entire speech on Essence magazine‘s website.