Archived: Gabrielle Union Talks About Colorism and the Beauty of 'Chocolate Sisters'

Actress Gabrielle Union partnered with AT&T (
No. 3 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) for its Dream In Black campaign during Essence Fest over the weekend to inspire Black people to dream big and live their wildest dreams. At the event, Union shared with the press that the topic of colorism has come up in her household and explained how she addressed it.

Colorism can be described as prejudice or discrimination against someone with a dark skin tone, usually among people of the same ethnic or racial group. Union, who’s married to NBA player Dwyane Wade, said she asked her teenage stepsons, Zaire and Zion, and Wade’s nephew, Dahveon, who lives with them, to show her the Instagram accounts of who they consider to be the best-looking girls at their high school, according to

The teens only showed her photos of light-skinned girls.

“Literally, probably about 10 girls I looked at had the same light skin, curly hair, tiny waist, butt, boobs it was the same girl over and over again,” Union said.

“So I asked them to show me the most beautiful chocolate sister they’ve seen. They say there are none.

“I was like, ‘Why do they get exed out so fast What is happening in your brain that is causing you to look at these women through a prism that is distorting their actual selves'”

Related Story: Gabrielle Union Drops ‘Black Truth Bombs’ We Need to Hear

In October, while on a media tour for her memoir, “We’re Going to Need More Wine,” Union said on ”
The View” that she and Wade often drop “Black truth bombs” on her stepsons, which includes sharing their fears about the safety of Black boys in America.

In their conversation about colorism, Union wanted to prove her point that “chocolate women” are beautiful. So she showed them
Ryan Destiny’s Instagram account. Destiny, an actress, is on the Fox TV show “Star.”

“They’re like, ‘Oh, she bad!'” Union said, according to Refinery29. “But do you know how many Ryan Destinies there are


“I pull up every Black model, women from all over the world, and they’re beautiful. But they don’t see the beauty unless it comes from an actress or a supermodel or a video vixen. They have to have somebody else tell them that a chocolate woman is attractive for them to believe it.”

Related Story: Colorism Contributed to Beyonc’s Success, Says Her Father

“We’re Going to Need More Wine,” a New York Times bestseller, Union opened up about growing up a dark-skinned girl when having a light-skinned complexion was what her family viewed as the standard of beauty, as many Black families have experienced.

“It’s an age-old us against us oversimplification, that boils down to the belief that the lighter your skin tone, the more valuable and worthy you are,”
Union writes. “The standard of beauty and intelligence, that has historically been praised by the oppressor, has been adopted by the oppressed.”

With years of working on self-discovery and self-love, Union embraces her flawless complexion.

But she also said that the pain dark-skinned girls have experienced shouldn’t be dismissed.

“We darker girls should not be pitted against our lighter skinned sisters, but our pain at being passed over also shouldn’t be dismissed by people saying, ‘love the skin you’re in,'” she writes.

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