Gabrielle Union draws backlash for saying some Black celebs are struggling financially during pandemic

Some felt that the actress was slighting non-celebs with little access to resources.

Gabrielle Union (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Gabrielle Union raised some eyebrows and sparked some backlash after she revealed that some Black celebrities are struggling financially, too, during the quarantine.

“For most, certainly Black entertainers, Black ‘celebrities,’ for all of the Oprahs and the people who have a lot, a lot, a lot of money, most of us are one or two checks away from not having money to pay for all of our things,” the 47-year-old actress shared Sunday during an Instagram Live chat with Angolan model Sharam-Sharam Dinz.

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“So this stoppage of work and money is impacting marginalized celebrities the most. All those influencers you see who take all the trips, they’re in Dubai one week, they’re in London the next week and Paris the next week and they seem to be everywhere, they may not have a lot of liquid income,” she continued.

“You can’t charge your rent, you have to pay your rent. If you don’t have the opportunity to do all the things you need to do to be the influencer, your money’s funny. And if your money’s funny, you don’t have much of anything.”

The industry veteran then went on to explain why the public is confused about how celebrity works, saying that fans often assume that fame and financial solvency are one in the same.

“I think a lot of people need to understand the difference between fame and having money. And I think this quarantine is really revealing a lot in terms of, there are a lot of people that are famous, but don’t have wealth,” she said. “Having a lot of followers doesn’t equal having a lot of money.

And there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to be suffering that you wouldn’t expect because they always give us perfection and aspirational living. That’s not the truth. A lot of people that you see in a photo that’s airbrushed or filtered or this, that and the other, and then you see in real life and you don’t recognize them, that’s really real. Everyone just needs to understand, this is a lot of smoke and mirrors.”

Gabrielle Union Kaavia James theGrio.com

Gabrielle Union and Kaavia James Union Wade attend Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports 2019. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

“People who you think have a lot of stuff don’t have a lot of stuff, and people who you think their lives are perfect and they may have a ton of money, their family doesn’t talk to them or they don’t have any real friends,” she concluded. “I don’t know anybody who has a life where I’m like, ‘Oooh, I want that.’ And there’s times I don’t want my own life because it’s hard. It’s isolating. It’s lonely and when you do have a problem, nobody wants to hear it. So it’s never what it looks like.”

While Union said she was making a plea for compassion, some blasted her on social media for being short-sighted.

“I HONESTLY dgaf bc who told them to live that far above they means,” one person tweeted. “Its plenty of people with less money managing their assets at their means in order to maintain, instead of floss. Idk and idc tbh.”

Rather than run from the critique, the actress faced it head-on.

READ MORE: Here’s how celebs are using their talents for good while quarantined

“DEFINITELY not comparing struggles,” she wrote Sunday. “The question that was asked if you watch the whole thing was SPECIFICALLY about how this is impacting Hollywood/Black Hollywood. I have been at every level of the game so I speak from personal experience. That is all. But let’s discuss.”

 

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