Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade’s daughter Kaavia is the gift that keeps on giving. She has become an internet sensation over the years due to her facial expressions, which garnered her the nickname “shady baby” and now she’s on her way to changing the baby care market for the better. The award-winning actress and her NBA champion beau teamed up with dermatologist Dr. Naana Boakye to launch their highly-anticipated baby care line PROUDLY. The line is catered to babies with darker skin tones, which historically hasn’t been the case in the niche industry.
“These products are meant to fill a gap for parents of color, like ourselves, by offering them intentionally developed formulas that put our children’s needs at the core,” the couple said in a statement. “Our hope is that for the first time ever, parents of children of color don’t need to spend money on products that aren’t effective or worry about what might irritate their children’s skin. We’ve done the work so they don’t have to.”
In an interview with Scary Mommy, the L.A.’s Finest star revealed that they have been working on the line since Kaavia was a few months after a diaper rash experience.
“We started when Kaav was only a few months old and PROUDLY is just now coming to fruition,” she said. “We took our time to build the company, not just the products, but the company in a FUBU style. Our company, our board, our investor deck actually look like our consumers, full of people of color, full of parents of color, because we wanted something different for our own kids. And it really addresses the unique skincare needs of melanated children.”
PROUDLY is a plant-based line and its containers are made of recycled materials. The line includes products such as a balm, baby wipes, hydrating lotion, oils, and a gentle baby wash. And yes, Kaavia uses the products.
“She is our guinea pig," Gabrielle toldPEOPLE. "Testing out the sprays, like the lavender room spray, she was like, ‘Oh, this is nice.’ She is all about her nighttime routine that we have set from when she was firstborn. [...] She knows she wants her oils. She knows she wants her hair products. She has a routine that she does not like to deviate from. She was loving all of the products and the smells."
Get it Kaavia!
PROUDLY comes on the heels of Kaavia’s clothing collection Janie and Jack.
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Gabrielle Union has never been the one to bite her tongue even if it's at her job. The Hollywood actress attended the premiere of her new film Disney’s Cheaper by the Dozen and while walking the red carpet, she seemingly called out her employer to bring awareness to The Parental Rights in Education bill, which has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill.
She was speaking with The Hollywood Reporter when she was asked about the controversial bill that many people have viewed as anti-LGBTQIA. “I don’t want to say shock because hatred doesn’t shock me at this point,” she said.
“I’ve been a Black woman in America since ’72. Nothing shocks me, but the fear that gripped me because I know what this leads to. Every moment in history, there has been this moment. We know how this ends. We know where hate and oppression lead. And it can start now with the LGBTQIA community, but if you think that it’s just a them problem, oh baby, you’re next.”
She then called out corporations to do more than just preach diversity and inclusion on social media. “If you’re going to take a stand and be all about diversity and inclusion — and it’s not just about black boxes after George Floyd died — you need to actually put your money where your mouth is,” she said.
“You can’t stand against hate and oppression and fund hate and oppression. That doesn’t work. Obviously, our family has a big spotlight. My child is one child. There are countless children who deserve peace and the ability to survive and thrive in this world, just like everybody else. And if you think that your kid isn’t next, you are so sadly mistaken.”
The clip went viral with fans praising the star for speaking up.
SHE DID THAT: Gabrielle Union is starring in the new @Disney’s ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ movie, so she goes to the Disney movie premiere & called Disney out on the red carpet for supporting & funding this anti-LGBTQ #DontSayGay bill. Legendary! Iconic! Thank you! @ItsGabrielleUpic.twitter.com/qw1H8UXr6i— Jerome Trammel (@MrJeromeTrammel) March 17, 2022
I don’t think folks understand how powerful this is. @itsgabrielleu is putting her own money and career on the line to stand up and speak out. It’s not the first time she’s shown this courage. #DontSayGay must end. https://t.co/4RTkoQPyb9— April (@ReignOfApril) March 18, 2022
The “Don’t Say Gay” bill prohibits “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” It was recently passed by the Florida Senate with other states such as Georgia and Texas following in their footsteps by presenting similar bills.
Many critics have pointed out that the bill is vague meaning it can be left to anyone’s interpretation while others are simply calling it unconstitutional.
This bill hits home for the Being Mary Jane star as she is a bonus mom to Zaya Wade who is transgender. Gabrielle along with Dwyane Wade and their family have supported her through her transition.
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Gabrielle Union is helping her daughter Kaavia James Union Wade build wealth at a young age. In February, it was announced that the actress and her daughter were now co-owners of Angel City Football Club, which is a professional women’s soccer team. At three years old, Kaavia is the youngest person to own a soccer club.
While promoting her new film Cheaper by the Dozen, Gabrielle stopped by Tamron Hall Show to explain why she decided to make the boss move with her daughter. “I played soccer my whole life so I’m a huge fan,” she said. “I was usually one of the only Black people as far as the eyes can see on those soccer fields and those tournaments. So to be a part of ownership and to see our team is so diverse is so amazing. We are International’s Women’s Day every day over at Angel City.”
Kaavia seems to be following in her mother’s footsteps. The L.A.’s Finest star has shared a few videos of the tot playing soccer with her family and on a little league team. The influencers have joined forces on several business ventures including a clothing line and children’s book, but becoming co-owners of a soccer team allows them to be a part of a family of co-owners.
Gabrielle revealed that she and Kaavia joined two other professional athletes and their daughters in the ownership space.
“Serena Williams and her daughter Olympia kicked us off into ownership and then followed up by Candace Parker and her daughter Laliaa,” she said. “And they were like come on we have to complete the trifecta and so me and Kaav dove in and it is amazing.”
Serena Williams and Olympia Ohanian
In 2020, Serena Williams, her husband Alexis Ohanian, and their daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. were named co-owners of Angel City’s soccer team. "I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group working to bring a women’s professional football club to Los Angeles," Alexis Ohanian said in a statement.
"Chiefly, because I'm a fan of the game, but also because I believe there is massive potential for the sport and it's been undervalued by too many people for far too long. As someone who spends hours kicking around a football with my two-year-old daughter, I want her to have a front-row seat to this revolution. I'm personally investing on behalf of my family because creating more opportunities in women's sports is important to my wife and me, and we want to be a part of making a better future for our daughter."
Candace Parker and Lailaa Nicole Williams
WNBA legend Candace Parker and daughter Lailaa Nicole Williams also joined the team of co-owners of the Angel City soccer team in 2020. In an Instagram post, Candace wrote, “Lailaa and I are pumped! We are fans of @weareangelcity already!! Baby girl, you can do and be anything you want to be! Keep dreaming and Mommy’s right here with you! #MommyDaughterBusinessPartners.”
Other co-owners include Uzo Aduba, Eva Longoria, and Christina Aguilera.
Angel City is a new women’s soccer team that was formed in Los Angeles, California. They began their first games in 2022.
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The New Year is often used as a time to reflect on the previous year and celebrate what’s to come. Gabrielle Union took time out to participate in the tradition and shared with her fans the plans she has for 2022 after dealing with “pain” and “trauma” in 2021. The veteran actress and her family have been spending the holidays in Hawai’i and during that time they have also posted alluring images of themselves enjoying the beautiful island of Maui.
Wearing a gorgeous flowy dress from Ndigo Studio, the stunning beauty posted images from what looked like a photoshoot. But while the photos were bright and bubbly, the caption focused on what the actress has been going through.
“New Year, Still Healing. Still working on myself and releasing what no longer serves me,” she wrote. "Embracing personal evolution, accountability and improved communication. Being crystal clear about my boundaries and continuing to ask for help.”
“I felt like I turned to dust in 2021 and I was circling the drain with a smile and a wave. I couldn’t continue to compartmentalize (is this a word 🤷🏾♀️) all of my trauma and pain. Time to face the beast. Me. To everyone slaying dragons seen and unseen while trying to be everything to everyone, I see you. Choose you 1st. Love and light good people.”
While she didn’t go into specifics, 2021 saw the actress be more transparent about parenting and her relationship with Dwyane Wade which she opened up about in her second memoir You Got Anything Stronger?
Back in December, the Bring It On star revealed that she experiences mom guilt, pointing out a particular time where she had to miss her daughter Kaavia James Union Wade’s holiday program due to work. She later shared with Yahoo!’s “So Mini Ways” that her mom guilt causes her to sometimes give in to Kaavia’s demands due to the little time she does have with her.
“Well, I don't wanna spend the little bit of time I have disciplining her and her being upset with me,” she said. But the actress concluded that that is something she is working on.
As far as her memoir goes, the 49-year-old relived some of the most difficult moments in her life, including finding out about Dwyane fathering another child.
She wrote, “The me of today would not have stayed with him, but would I be who I am now without that pain? That fiery explosion that created life and light? The advice I would give myself now would be to leave. ‘You don’t have to do this. You don’t think you have an option, but you do. Save yourself.’”
Sometimes reliving the past is painful and so we hope that the actress gets the healing that she needs in 2022.
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Being a working mother, sometimes you may have to miss out on special moments in your children’s lives, which can result in having mom guilt. Gabrielle Union recently shared that she experienced mom guilt after missing her daughter Kaavia James Union Wade’s holiday program, so she did the next best thing she could think of, be her hype woman before the show.
In an Instagram post, the L.A’s Finest actress shared that she couldn’t make Kaavia’s holiday program because of work.
“Hardest part about being a working Mom is missing important events in your kid’s lives. Today I missed @kaaviajames holiday program at school and felt so awful to disappoint her. So I did the next best thing and I became her hype woman before I left for work. 🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰,” she wrote as the caption.
The post included adorable photos of Gabrielle embracing her daughter as they smiled at each other and the camera. Although the actress wasn’t in attendance at the three-year-old’s program, she did share a video of Kaavia’s performance on Instagram.
In true “shady baby” fashion, Kaavia looked unamused making her way to the stage for her special performance.
In the video, you can see that Kaavia began giving high-fives to her supporters including her dad, Dwyane Wade, and before gracing the stage she gave him a big hug. When she did get on stage, however, Kaavia’s expression didn’t change and she just stood there, which made the video even more hilarious.
Gabrielle cleverly captioned the video, “They say the holiday season is upon us. Kaavia James disagrees 😂😂😂😂😂😂.”
Kaavia was nicknamed “shady baby” due to her famous facial expressions and it appears that she is continuing to live up to the name.
Gabrielle revealed the nickname started after someone came over to visit them and Kaavia gave them “a look” and the woman said, “Ooh that’s a shady baby!”
Since then, Gabrielle and Dwyane began hashtagging their daughter’s posts with #shadybaby. The couple later released a children’s book called Shady Baby that is based on Kaavia.
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Gabrielle Union is not here for the label stepparent. While she became a stepparent after marrying Dwyane Wade in 2014, that doesn't mean that she wants to be defined by it. The actress spoke about the dislike of that term during her appearance on Glennon Doyle's We Can Do Hard Things podcast.
Dwyane is a father to three children, Zaire, Zaya and Xavier Zechariah, who Dwyane had with Aja Metoyer after he and Gabrielle took a relationship break. The former Miami Heat player also takes care of his nephew Dahveon Morris and he shares Kaavia James with the LA's Finest actress.
"The stepparent label was put on me by the kids' school because you have to describe yourself: Who are you if you're not their mother?" She said. "It's very annoying. It's not a word that I use."
Rather than being the stepparent, Gabrielle wanted to just be the "additional adult" that the kids will have in their lives. "I wanted to make sure I was consistent in their lives. Whatever personality I was trying on that day, or whoever I was, I just needed to be consistent so they can get used to me. They've already gone through so much upheaval, moving states away, not knowing anyone, having gone through a divorce. I knew I needed to be consistent. I just didn't know what my role was," she shared.
"I knew that when I married him, I was married to them. What I realized very quickly is you will never, ever, I don't care if the other parent is dead, you will never be able to replace the other parent. Don't try to replace the other parent. That is not your job. Your job is to be consistent. If you're a disciplinarian in your own life, continue to be that. Just be consistent so they know who you are… and kids adapt."
This isn't the first time the Do You Have Anything Stronger? author has spoken about being the additional adult in Dwyane's kids' lives.
During an episode of Red Table Talk, Gabrielle sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith to discuss what it was like being a "bonus mom," a term Jada uses with Will Smith's son, Trey Smith, who he shares with Sheree Zampino.
"It is a master class of staying in your lane while at the same time as being a consistent presence," she said. She also touched on the challenges that come with that such as not always being able to give your opinion. "It's just your job to love them up whether the parent is involved, not involved, deceased; that parent is a presence in their life forever."
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