From her breakthrough role in Bring It On to her leading role and executive producer credit in the BET drama series Being Mary Jane, Gabrielle Union has become a powerful force in entertainment. Throughout the nearly two decades of her career, Union has unapologetically voiced support for causes near her heart that ignite conversations around equal opportunity in the entertainment industry, the #MeToo movement, and support for the LGBTQ+ community.
She has become a champion for marginalized groups, and her dedication to that and all of her accomplishments have solidified her spot as an icon.
A Look at Gabrielle Union's Career
Known for her beautiful, youthful looks and incredible comedic timing, Gabrielle Union has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry, particularly in film and television. As a Black actress, she has become a prominent figure in black entertainment. Union was born in Omaha, Neb., but spent most of her childhood in Pleasanton, Calif. Her career began in the late '90s with minor roles on the hit TV shows, Sister, Sister, Moesha, Smart Guy, and Friends. Her role as Isis in the movie Bring It On catapulted her into the mainstream. From there, she went on to star in films like The Brothers, Deliver Us from Eva, Bad Boys II, and Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls.
Union has also made strides outside of film and television. She started a plus-sized clothing line, Love & Blessings, and created her own wine, Vanilla Puddin'. In 2017, she released her first memoir, We're Going to Need More Wine, which touched on sexuality, race, womanhood, marriage, and friendship. She followed that up with a second memoir in 2021, titled You Got Anything Stronger?. Union has also written two children's books entitled Welcome to the Party and Shady Baby which she collaborated on with her husband, former NBA player Dwyane Wade.
How She Uses Her Platform to Promote Diversity & Inclusion
In Hollywood, where diversity can sometimes be an afterthought, Union's commitment to raising awareness and advocating for change is admirable and inspiring. Union has been a powerful force for representing Black women in entertainment. Still, she has spoken up loudly about other causes, such as sexual abuse, police brutality, mental health, and her unwavering support of the LGBTQ+ community. President Obama also appointed her to work with the National Advisory Committee for Violence Against Women in 2011.
Gabrielle Union also has a transgender stepdaughter, Zaya Wade, whom she has continuously rallied behind in her journey to finding herself amid backlash. "It's about being you and expressing yourself the way you want to. She tries to teach me that beauty standards are arbitrary and don't mean anything,” Zaya told People Magazine what she's learned from Union. “They don't matter anymore; what people thought was the standard is not. And just that being myself is the best technique out there."
How Her Journey Inspires Us All
Gabrielle Union has been a trailblazer in the entertainment industry, inspiring people of all backgrounds through her dynamic and diverse career. As a Black woman in Hollywood, Union has faced unique challenges, but she's never been afraid to speak her truth and stand up for her beliefs. Her journey is a powerful inspiration to anyone who's ever felt they don't belong or aren't represented.