Gabrielle Union’s Acceptance Speech Makes A Point About The Need For Diverse Voices In Film

"There’s billions of people on the planet ... we only rehash the same four stories."

Actress Gabrielle Union has been a film and TV staple for 25 years, and is still finding ways to make waves in her career. Recently, she started delving into life behind the scenes, taking on the role of producer for TV movie With This Ring, and projects that she's starred in such as Almost Christmas, Being Mary Jane, and her newest movie, Breaking In. Her work has been enough to win her the Breakthrough Producer of the Year award at this year's CinemaCon. During her acceptance speech, Union brought up a powerful point about marginalized voices and how we can help make them heard.

Union, who turns 46 this year, pointed out her age while speaking to Hollywood's tendency to send those it deems no longer marketable "out to pasture." She relayed a story of her driver questioning her about who she was and her upcoming film — including him mistaking her for fellow actress Naomie Harris — before relaying why she's proud that in Breaking In, she gets to play the hero.

"I gotta create opportunities for myself. I gotta create opportunities for other people who are also being put out to pasture — other people whose voices are traditionally muted, erased, silenced," she said during the speech, expanding the focus from her to others who aren't often represented in film or other media. "There's billions of people on the planet, and it seems like we only rehash the same four stories. If we can imagine a world that has Middle-earth and hobbits, if we can imagine Wakanda, we can imagine a 45-year-old woman being her own superhero in her own damn life."

She further elaborated on being able to play a kickass role thanks to having a seat at the producer's table during an interview with Access Hollywood. "That's what happens when women produce," she said to the celebrity news show. 

Union isn't the only one in Hollywood fighting to make sure that all are represented in Hollywood. Celebrated producer Lynda Obst, who began her movie career developing the '80s hit Flashdance, opened up about her experiences during the time before #MeToo in a New Yorker essay and how the rise of female producers has produced change in the industry. "Female stars were immediately attracted to the idea of female producers, and, as they watched us, they began producing themselves, wrapping themselves in their own leverage, which, before, had always been used by others," she wrote.

Elsewhere, producers such as Plan B's Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who were crucial in bringing films like Okja and Moonlight to the masses, and trailblazers such as Zoe Saldana, whose media brand BESE aims to bring Latinx voices into the mainstream, are helping to make sure that the marginalized have ways to be seen.

These efforts are important, as representation is important in making sure that all voices and people are seen and heard.

(H/T: Ebony)

Cover image: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.