Gabrielle Union on parenting amid police brutality: ‘It’s terrifying’
Gabrielle Union is returning to our small screens with the second season of LA’s Finest, the hit show she stars in and executive produces alongside Jessica Alba.
From the same universe as the Jerry Bruckheimer Bad Boys franchise, season one took us into the lives of former DEA agent, Syd Burnett (Union). Burnett left her complicated past behind to join the LAPD, and detective Nancy McKenna (Jessica Alba) is juggling a demanding caseload and rebellious teenage step-daughter.
When theGrio caught up with the powerhouse duo to discuss what’s in store for next season, all three of us were still reeling from the release of a video showing Ahmaud Arbery being gunned down in the street.
A week after that conversation, we’re grappling with another horrific incident — the tragic murder of George Floyd and the vision of the officer’s knee leaning into his neck as he suffocated on the street.
“Having this all happen in the middle of a global pandemic is a different kind of trauma and a different kind of terror because there’s already so much uncertainty,” Union said. “But when you see the kind of lawlessness being practiced by people whose job it is to serve and protect causing harm again and again and again and again and again and again, it’s terrifying.”
“Having two 18-year-old boys who want to feel like they know everything; who want to be independent, who want to be their own men; It’s terrifying. It’s absolutely terrifying. And, you know, people there’s this debate: “Do we need to keep showing the videos? And do we need to keep showing our trauma and our bodies being destroyed to show our humanity?”
And we shouldn’t have to explain our existence to get people to care. We shouldn’t have to see our bodies being, you know, destroyed to get people to care. And it’s really revealing a lot about who’s an ally, how they believe they should be allies, who’s staying silent, who this is really affecting. It’s very telling right now.”
Playing police officers on LA’s Finest gives Union and Alba a chance to show the humanity of the good cops of the world.
“The thing about Syd and Nancy is they are two women of color in Los Angeles who do not abide by the rules, who do not demonize whole groups of people who don’t contribute to the prison industrial complex over some bullshit. So, trying to combine these two, it’s like, it’s impossible,” Union continues.
“I don’t really have answers for why people don’t see our humanity or don’t value Black lives. I mean the vigilantism alone…Nothing has changed. It’s terrifying. I don’t have answers. I don’t know what to say or what to show people to get people to care about Black lives and for our breath to hold the same value as others. I don’t know what that magic equation is.”
The new, 13-episode season of LA’s Finest drops on Monday, June 8, ad-free exclusively on Spectrum’s On Demand platform, after which new episodes will drop every Monday until the finale.
Check back for more inside info on LA’s Finest with Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union next week.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!