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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Actress Gabrielle Union and former Miami Heat baller Dwyane Wade have become one of the most adored couples due to their openness about their relationship and their family. They are also open about their love and affection for one another and have no problem putting that, plus their bodies on display.
One of the places that the couple loves to flaunt their love is on Instagram. They have used the platform to post funny videos, intimate moments, and family time. There never seems to be a dull moment with these two as they continue to show each other off in only the way they know how.
As much as we enjoy seeing their daughter Kaavia's funny faces, we also tune in for the risqué photos that pop up on their page every now and then.
So, we had to highlight the top sexiest photos on their respective Instagram pages.
1.Birthday Suit Surprise
For his 39th birthday, Dwyane shocked everyone when he donned his birthday suit on the 'Gram. His wife Gabrielle, however, shielded his goodies.
"Birthday behavior‼️ 39 is already looking up 👀 🖤🖤🖤👑," he captioned the racy photo.
The NBA legend looked like he was ready to risk it all for his queen in this poolside photo of the couple.
"8th Grade Dance Vibes 🕺🏿💃🏾🖤🖤," Gabrielle wrote.
3.Fitted in Love
Gabrielle posted a photo of her and Dwyane wearing the same pants. But it was what they weren't wearing that had fans talking. The L.A.'s Finest star captioned the photo,
"Fittings 🖤👫🏿🖤 @dwyanewade
Welcome to #ScorpioSzn🦂."
In February, Gabrielle got cozy with her hubby Dwyane in the bathtub during what looked like a romantic getaway for Valentine's Day.
The actress simply captioned the photo, "Happy Valentine's Day 🖤🖤
Both Gabrielle and Dwyane enjoyed an intimate moment together in the pool and the sunset was just the icing on the cake.
@dwyanewade 📸 by @zayawade," Gabrielle wrote as the caption.
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Gabrielle Union continues to open up about her life with her new book, You Got Anything Stronger? The actress details her harrowing journey to motherhood, how she felt about husband Dwyane Wade getting another woman pregnant while they were on a break and now she's opening up about the time in her life once she divorced her first husband.
Gabrielle was married to NFL star Chris Howard for five years and ultimately broke up due to her husband's cheating. The L.A's Finest star detailed her marriage to Chris in her first book, We're Going to Need More Wine, where she also revealed his bizarre proposal and their wedding, in which she ignored all the red signs.
However, in her second book, she reflected on what happened after her divorce, which involved a bucket list of men.
During her recent book tour stop in Atlanta, Gabrielle sat down with her friend and music manager Chaka Zulu and recalled the time she shared the list with him.
"So I got divorced and like other divorced people, you have a mental bucket list. I had a bucket list of diddles. I was like, here is my deep, what do they call it, Red Sea scrolls of gentleman callers I would like to check their [availability] on, check their pulse and Chaka was like, 'about 99.9% of that list are f--k boys and I was like, 'yes exactly.'"
The Being Mary Jane star assured her friend that she was ready to take on f-boys despite his warnings.
"I feel tall enough to enjoy this ride. I will strap in and I will hold my arms up and I'll buy the picture at the end of the ride."
While neither one of them revealed names from the bucket list, it would appear that her happily ever after was closer than she expected.
She divorced her husband in 2006 and met Dwyane in 2007. Although they were just friends at first, they began dating and got engaged in 2013.
Now, they have been married for seven years, she is a bonus mom to his kids from previous relationships and they share a two-year-old daughter together.
Featured image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Both actresses have achieved groundbreaking success in Hollywood and have also thrived in entrepreneurship. Taraji made a name for herself starring in Baby Boy as well as Hustle and Flow, Hidden Figures and the popular TV drama Empire. Gabrielle became a household name thanks to Bring It On, as well as Deliver Us from Eva, and the hit TV show Being Mary Jane. The two also starred in Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man Too together.
In regards to entrepreneurship, they both have their own haircare lines. Taraji's line is called TPH by Taraji P. Henson and Gabrielle's line is called Flawless by Gabrielle Union, but while they have similar careers and business ventures, they aren't in competition with each other. Taraji and Gabrielle both stopped by The Late Late Show with James Corden and talked about their 20 year-long friendship.
Both actresses shared their love for a cocktail and strip clubs when asked what a girls night out with them would be like. After much laughter, Taraji went on to praise Gabrielle about her vulnerability in her new book You Got Anything Stronger? and "what she means to our culture."
"I just sent her a text not too long ago thanking her for her book because, her vulnerability, (looks at Gabrielle) you're setting so many people free and especially in the Black community we have to be strong all the time. That is how we cope, but strength is killing us. Buildings are meant to be strong, not humans. You need a wall to lean on to help you stand up, but humans, we are emotional creatures and it's OK to feel all the feels and I think that was so beautiful to share."
The host of the Facebook Watch show Peace of Mind continued to gush over her friend Gabrielle, who looked on in appreciation, and opened up about how grateful she is to have a "sister" in the industry.
"It just feels good to be in an industry where it's so judgemental and it's so competitive; to find someone, to have someone, your sister in the business do the same thing you do, but we don't compete. I big her up. I'm proud of her for everything, every accomplishment she makes because it lets me know that I too can do it. It gives me hope."
Instead of competing, the L.A.'s Finest star and Muppets Haunted Mansion actress are teaming up to co-produce a feature film based off of the graphic novel Sorcerority.
Speaking on their new joint venture, Gabrielle said in a statement:
"Taraji and I have been looking for a project to work on together for a few years now and I'm excited to be partnering with her, TPH Productions and Gamechanger Films on this project. I'm looking forward to bringing this graphic novel to the big screen."
We love to see Black women working together and getting the bag.
Taraji P. Henson & Gabrielle Union Are Friendship Goals
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In addition to being mom and wife of the year to her family, these days, Gabrielle Union is making her rounds to promote the follow-up to her first memoir, You Got Anything Stronger? I don't know about you, but Gab's revelations keep proving why she will forever be a BFF in our heads. The best-selling author recently let it slip that she has an unapologetic love for frequenting strip clubs.
And given the fact that sis pulls up with racks instead of just dolla-dolla bills, her bands are bound to make the ladies dance whenever she hits the scene. In a recent visit to Jimmy Kimmel's late night show, the 48-year-old actress let it be known that she's a strip club "connoisseur" among other the other hats she wears in her life.
It's a fact that she goes more in-depth about in her second memoir, no doubt, but she was sure to give Jimmy a little snippet of her pre-pandemic habit. She told the host that she went around "10, 15 times" a year before COVID. While my tax bracket can't relate, Gabrielle revealed that she could spend anywhere between $10,000-20,000 when she visits a strip club.
"You don't really think about it because... booze. And you just want to make sure all the ladies go home with a little something."
And just in case you thought sis wasn't really about that life, Gabrielle made sure to name-drop the infamous Magic City in Atlanta as one of her preferred strip clubs when she's in the A. She also mentioned that she and her hubby Dwyane used to go to strip clubs together in the early stages of their relationship.
These days, Gabrielle says she prefers to go solo dolo or with friends, citing that Dwyane might have been intimidated by her during their "unique" date nights. As a couple, Gabrielle and Dwyane have never strayed away from being open and honest about how they keep their relationship strong. In a 2016 cover story with Ocean Drive, Gabrielle shared the secret behind their marital bliss:
"If you have good, effective, honest communication, you can handle any issue or problem in a relationship. D is literally my best friend. We really, really enjoy spending time with each other more than anybody else... If you have the chance to marry your best friend, I would highly recommend it."
And when asked about what she thought Dwyane appreciated about her, Gabrielle cleverly replied with a mission statement on self-worth:
"He appreciates my independence, and my high credit score, and the fact that if I want a Chanel bag, I'm not asking for his Amex; I've got my own."
To hear the story of her first time saying she loved her husband and more about her strip club adventures, watch the video below.
Gabrielle Union on Frequenting Strip Clubs & Saying I Love You to Dwyane Wade for the First Time
Featured image by Christian Vierig/Getty Images
We all know the feeling. You plop down in a stylist's seat excitedly waiting for your slay to begin, only to be met with a look of panic when they actually lay eyes on your hair. As a woman with thick and coarse 4C textured hair, I know that gaze well. Sadly, so do most Black women, and it's been an ongoing problem in the entertainment world for decades.
During a recent episode of Red Table Talk available on Facebook Watch, Willow Smith shared her experience of having to style her own hair at a major fashion event. She says:
"All of the white models were getting their hair done and they all had somebody. The person that was supposed to come do my hair, came, looked at it, and tried to do something to it; tried to touch it. I can tell they were extremely (pauses) perturbed. I could tell that they were just like, I don't know what I'm doing. That anxiety of looking at them in the mirror not knowing what to do with my head, made me feel like, I'm going to just take the reins. So, I basically did my own hair for a really high fashion shoot. That should never be happening."
Although her story is unfortunate, it's not surprising at all. However, it does make you think, with Black creatives making such an impact in Hollywood and the entertainment space, why are we still not being catered to in the same way? I mean just imagine being a Black hairstylist or make-up artist that gets booked for a high profile event and being unable to style white women's hair or face. Chile, we'd be fired so quick! There is a desire to increase diversity and representation in media, but what goes on behind the scenes suggests that that mobility is surface.
As a model, Willow has been afforded many opportunties to work with major brands like Chanel and Mugler, but is it really a seat at the table if she and women like her aren't afforded the tools and resources to bring their best selves to these spaces? Black women being met with stylists who don't know how to work with their hair is nothing new. If white stylist can't learn to work with our hair, so much so we have to do our own hair on these sets, maybe the bigger conversation is how important it is to make sure representation and diversity isn't just represented on screens, but behind the scenes as hairstylists and makeup artists on set too. Also, when we get opportunities, it is important to share them!
Speaking of sharing, here is a list of amazing Black women who have also spoken up about the discrimination of having to do their own hair on sets in Hollywood.
With the exception of her show Insecure, writer and actress Natasha Rothwell noted having to spend her last in the early stages of her career to ensure her hair was on point, a burden her white counterparts never had to bear. She said, "They can wake up, roll out of bed and don't have to worry about what's in their bag."
"It's a real disservice to actors of color who are effectively doing someone else's job and not getting paid for it. There's nothing [more] dehumanizing than sitting in a hair and makeup chair and watching your co-stars go through the works and leave, and you're still there because someone's moving very slowly because they're very scared. It's [you] feeling like a problem to be solved."
Taraji P. Henson
"If you know how to do it, great. If you don't, pass it to somebody who does. It has nothing to do with pride or ego," Henson told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm not saying you have to be black to know how to do [that] hair, but you got to know what the hell you're doing. When an actress of color requests a hairstylist, listen to them. They're not being difficult."
In 2019, the model vocalized her experiences at Paris Fashion Week and not being able to find a stylist who knew how to do her hair. She wrote in her Instagram caption:
"I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair.
"This is not OK. This will never be OK. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone's hair, why does the same not apply to others?"
"It's mind-blowing to me that we still have to —- meaning Black actresses —- have to fight to have Black hairdressers on set for us. There was one time in particular I was doing this movie and, my God, I was the lead. And after this person did my hair, I cried. I was like 'I cannot, like, I cannot go out there looking like this.' I just don't understand why you have to fight to get someone to understand the importance of that."
While Halle Berry looks like she was made to rock her signature pixie cut, the style was actually a product of her environment as an up-and-coming actress who had trouble finding stylists who knew how to do Black hair on set. She revealed:
"That's why I had short hair. [Maintaining] it was easy. I think as people of color, especially in the business, we haven't always had people that know how to manage our hair. Those days are different now, that's when I started."
Queen Latifah, who notably did her own hair during her time starring in the hit sitcom Living Single, but expressed that change needs to be a focus:
"It's not because their heart wasn't in the right place — they just didn't have the skill set to do Black hair. As African-Americans, we have all different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and you got to be able to work with that. We are always in a position to be able to work with what White people do. That's just how it's been, but it has to be reversed. It has to be some respect over here and figuring out what to do with our hair. So we just really need to add more people to the industry."
Gabrielle Union is never one to mince words when it comes to speaking her truth. In a 2017 Glamour essay, she wrote about her experience when getting started as an actress:
"I was like a guinea pig on set, and I didn't yet have enough power to request a stylist who I actually wanted to touch my hair. It got to the point that I would pay to have my hair done before I got to work and pray they didn't screw it up."
"I realized very quickly that there were many people in hair and makeup trailers who were totally unqualified to do my hair. Hairstylists used Aqua Net–like hairspray with crazy amounts of alcohol, which caused chunks of my hair to literally come off on a styling tool."
Gabourey Sidibe shared in at tweet in 2019:
"If they don't have the budget to hire a Black hairstylist for me, or won't, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or Senegalese twist."
In the Freeform series, The Bold Type, actress Aisha Dee plays the biracial, bisexual, bold Kat. However, she made it known before the series' end that all was not as progressive as it seemed behind the scenes on set. She shared on Instagram:
"It took three seasons to get someone in the hair department who knew how to work with textured hair. This was impactful on so many levels, and I'm grateful for the women who show me how to embrace and love my hair in a way I never had before. I want to make sure that no one else ever has to walk onto a set and feel as though their hair is a burden. It is not."
The Flash star Candice Patton revealed during a SXSW panel in 2019 that she, too, has encountered when she said she needed "someone who can do Black hair.":
"At work, I don't want to be labeled a diva because I have to say to production, 'I need someone who can do Black hair. I need someone who knows and understands how to do Black makeup.' It is not the same. We do not share the same kind of skin. We do not need the same kind of makeup. And not everyone knows how to paint me in a way that makes me feel comfortable on camera, and me asking for that is not me being difficult. It's me being a diverse talent on this network asking for something that's different. And if you hire me, you hire me with the intent of knowing that I have different requirements and different needs—and that's just what it is. I think there's a lot of education that still needs to happen."
Actress Jurnee Smollett was able to advocate for her desire to have a Black stylist on set of Birds of Prey by talking to her co-star Margot Robbie about wanting one. She stated:
"In pre-production, when we were creating a look for the hair, for me it was very important to bring a woman of color on in the hair department to create the look for Black Canary. My hair, my texture, the kind of blonde we were going for…and I called her up and I said, 'Honestly, Margot, it's different. I need Nikki Nelms and this is why I need her.'"
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