Gabrielle Union warns against being the ‘happy negro’ bowing to the status quo
Gabrielle Union has been the topic of discussion and debate ever since her unceremonious firing from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” and now it seems the booked and busy starlet may be breaking her silence — in a roundabout way.
According to Variety, Monday morning, Union seemingly alluded to her dismissal during the launch of her holiday collection with New York and Company.
While sitting on a panel titled: “The Power of Inclusivity and the Women Leading The Charge,” she talked about her intentional decision to be vocal in her career even if it may rustle the feathers of the powers that be.
“How many checks do I need,” Union, 47, rhetorically asked the crowd in New York. “This financial freedom, they’re shackles, masquerading as zeros in my bank account.”
In a move that felt not so subtly directed at NBC she advised the Black people in attendance: “Don’t be the happy negro that does the bidding of the status quo because you’re afraid. It’s terrifying. There’s a solid chance you’ll lose your job… I speak from experience.”
Union says she was pushed off of the show after becoming vocal about several racial incidents on the set, including one in which comedian and former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno came on the show and made an offensive joke referring to Koreans eating dogs, which was edited out of the primetime airing.
She later met with executives from NBC and tweeted: “We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting. I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”
While she has yet to issue a formal statement on the matter, in late November, following reports about how much support she was receiving from both fans and fellow celebs alike, Union expressed gratitude, and made no denials about what was being widely speculated about her mistreatment on AGT.
“Being the chip in the cookie, you are always in this situation where you are seeing things, hearing things … and you’re presented with a choice: what kind of chip am I going to be?” she explained during the event. “Are you going to assimilate and allow all of this to go on? Or are you going to say something and immediately be other-ed? Are you going to say something? You know it’s wrong. Everyone knows it’s wrong.”