I don't know who needs to hear this but cashing a check shouldn't come at the expense of your self-respect. No matter how many bags you secure in this lifetime, knowing your worth is priceless and Gabrielle Union just gave us a whole word about the power of being financially free, not just rich. Last month, news broke that Gabrielle would not be returning as a judge for the next season of NBC's America's Got Talent and sis has made it very clear that the decision was rooted in anti-blackness.
According to sources, the decision to fire the actress was a reflection of the "toxic" and "racially insensitive" work environment created by the network and now, Gabrielle won't let up until NBC puts some respect on her name. As a speaker at the The Power of Inclusivity and the Women Leading the Charge forum in Manhattan, Gabrielle had this advice for Black creatives:
"Don't be the happy negro that does the bidding of the status quo because you're afraid. Don't allow them to call you angry when someone else is called passionate. It's terrifying. There's a solid chance you'll lose your job … I speak from experience."
While Gabrielle refrained from name-dropping during her time on the panel, it was quite clear that sis was spilling all the tea about her experience on AGT. The actress explained that along with enduring criticisms about her hair and wardrobe, she was wrongfully punished for being "too black". Although Gabrielle bit her tongue when it came to receiving these "notes", a check no longer was enough to buy her silence:
"Eventually, I couldn't sleep. I knew I obsessed about every single time in my life where I didn't say anything. And it got to the point where I was like, 'That's not right!' And every time I chose to speak up and the world didn't end and I could speak a little bit better, I knew I was doing the right thing. It just made it so much easier."
While remaining quiet about the struggles she experienced while working on the show may have satisfied her bank account, her silence didn't sit right with her conscience.
"I've got to call it out in real time. But you have to navigate, 'What will I lose?' I have to weigh all these things. 'How much am I willing to lose for the peace?'"
Gabrielle explained that throughout her experience, she learned that being rich doesn't always equal financial freedom:
"How many checks do I need? This financial freedom, they're shackles, masquerading as zeros in my bank account. There are a lot of people who are only interested in filling their own plate. I can't enjoy my food if everyone else is starving."
According to Gabrielle, as important as it is to have a seat at the table, it's equally important to make sure that the people that look like you can eat, too.
"Do your best because corporations want global dollars. Do your best to try to hold the door open and hold people responsible. Yeah, I'm asking you to do the impossible … I'm fully aware that job loss is on the table … but if you're not doing it, nobody is."
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