You may know her as Shawnee from the basketball cult movie classic Love & Basketball, or, as the captain of the East Compton Clovers cheerleading team in Bring It On, but, now -- in 2016 -- actress/model/singer Gabrielle Union is more than that. Wife to Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade, Union is using her huge social media platform to spread awareness about social issues revolving around women -- more specifically, professional athletes' wives.
In an interview with Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy, Union discussed in further detail:
Right, it's like saying, 'All men are like this. All women are like that.' There's so much diversity within the wives of athletes. There's just an enormous amount of diversity. I could go through so many stereotypes, but I'd just like for people to know that there are lovely, intelligent, amazing women who happen to be married to an athlete. And being married to an athlete isn't the most interesting thing about them. You have to actually get to know people beyond, 'Oh, this is Dwyane Wade ... and his wife.' A lot of people will dismiss you, or act like just marrying this guy was some accomplishment. No, that's not an accomplishment. Having a successful marriage is an accomplishment. I don't liken getting down the aisle with graduating from UCLA (laughs). We didn't luck out or hit the jackpot. D and I happen to be each other's best friend, so we lucked out in that sense. But him being in the NBA or me having a job and my own money, that wasn't a major selling point. Well, I guess you'd have to ask him (laughs). I'd like to think that it wasn't a major selling point. There's just a lot more to us than the stereotypes or the reality shows.
Also, this idea that women can't formulate their own ideas when it comes to sports is the biggest load of s--t I've ever heard. If I tweet something about sports, sometimes people will say something like, 'Okay, Dwyane can hand the phone back now.' The thought that we aren't watching the same games as everyone else, the thought we aren't capable of having sports knowledge or having a high sports IQ is absurd. The idea that we're somehow speaking for our husbands or saying things that they wish they could say is insane. If I'm at the game, then nobody is freaking telling me what to say, obviously. I'm from Nebraska, where if you don't know Cornhuskers football, it's preferred that you just don't speak. I come from the kind of family where you have to know sports. So my opinions are based on facts, not just willy-nilly like, 'Oh, I like this guy better than that guy or this team better than that team.' I'm pretty honest and reasonable as it pertains to anything, including sports.
And on the topic of the highly-controversial Ayesha Curry (Steph Curry's wife) vs. the publicly non-existent Savannah Brinson (LeBron James' wife) and "how to act":
It pisses me off that Ayesha has to deal with this stuff. And it pisses me off that people have 'decided' who Savannah is just because she opts to not be heavily involved with social media. Whether or not you use social media doesn't define your soul! You know what I mean? There are dope, cool, amazing mothers and businesswomen - let them live! But this idea that your tweets define who you are or that your lack of tweets define who are is insane. And for people who say that 'a woman should know her place,' stop it. Stop. It. My place is where I determine it to be. If I opt to use my voice, good! If I opt not to use my voice, that's okay too!
There you have it: Powerful words from a powerful woman.