Gabrielle Union is teaching her children to embrace their natural hair and ‘have pride in their blackness’

'Live your best black life and let your curls do what they do', says actor

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Wednesday 22 July 2020 10:23
Gabrielle Union's Instagram video of hairstyles over a speech on feminism

Gabrielle Union has said she is teaching her children to embrace their natural hair and have pride in their blackness.

The actor has long-been vocal about her experiences as a black woman in Hollywood and, in 2019, was allegedly fired as a judge on America's Got Talent (AGT) for speaking up against the show's racist and toxic work culture.

According to a Variety report at the time, Union was told on several occasions by executives at AGT that her hairstyles were “too black” for the show's audience.

Now, Union is on a mission to ensure her children are not mistreated over the way they choose to style their hair.

Speaking to People magazine, the 10 Things I Hate About You star said she wants her children, 20-month-old Kaavia and stepdaughter 13-year-old Zaya, to love the way they look.

“Your hair is a part of you and it's an extension of you, but it has to start with self-love and pride in your blackness and Afrocentric features, whether that be your hair, your nose, your lips or your body,” she said.

Union added that she and her husband, Dwayne Wade, are constantly reaffirming their daughters.

“Especially now, when there are so many external forces that are anti-black,” she explained.

“It is always pride and live your best life and live your best black life. And let your curls do what they do.”

Union also opened up about the criticism she receives on social media about her toddler’s hair.

“I'll see comments and people are like, ‘Why is her hair never done?’ And I'm like, ‘She is a year and a half.’ I don't want to give her a complex about what is an acceptable style,” Union says, adding that she lets her children make their own decisions about their hair.

“Some days Kav will hand you her brush and she'll want a little afro puff. And some days she just wants to wake up and go,” Union said.

“And Zaya went from pink hair to blonde. If you want to switch it up every day, great. What you do with your hair is your own personal choice.

‘For me, the focus is on healthy hair, not on what you do with it.”

Union concluded by saying that she hopes more people will learn how to celebrate how they are naturally.

“It’s all dope and amazing and beautiful and there's no one right way or wrong way to exist,” she said.

After Union spoke out about her treatment on AGT, social media users showed their solidarity with the actor by taking part in the #BlackHairChallenge.

The challenge involved people using the hashtag and sharing up to four pictures of themselves with different hairstyles to highlight and celebrate the versatility of black hair.

The challenge was originally created in 2017 after pictures emerged of Michelle Obama wearing her natural hair while on holiday.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments