Actress Gabrielle Union has been opening up since she was fired as a judge of America’s Got Talent.
According to Variety, Union as part of a female empowerment and inclusivity panel called on the audience not to be afraid of standing for what they believe in irrespective of the repercussions.
“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,” she said while addressing an audience at the launch of her holiday collection with New York & Company.
“There’s a solid chance you’ll lose your job … I speak from experience,” she added, albeit not mentioning America’s Got Talent.
“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.”
Union, 47, was surprisingly fired as a judge on America’s Got Talent in November after she reportedly spoke out against some issues that were prevalent behind the scenes of the popular TV series including racism and sexism.
Her dismissal was widely criticized by a host of industry stakeholders with NBC having to come out to deny any wrongdoing. Their response was, however, widely rebuffed.
Though Union hasn’t officially addressed the issue, she revealed she had a lengthy and productive conversation with NBC and other stakeholders of the show early this month where she claimed she was able to again express her “unfiltered truth.”
Union’s take on leadership wasn’t the only gems she dropped at the event.
Touching on the difficulties women of color in the industry face, she revealed those setbacks don’t stop her from speaking her mind, though she initially had struggles expressing her opinion from childhood.
“Being the chip in the cookie, you are always in this situation where you are seeing things, hearing things … and you’re presented with a choice: what kind of chip am I going to be?” she said, according to Variety. “Are you going to assimilate and allow all of this to go on? Or are you going to say something and immediately be other-ed? Are you going to say something? You know it’s wrong. Everyone knows it’s wrong.”
She attributed overcoming those struggles by coming to terms with the fact that the world didn’t end anytime she spoke her mind.
“I knew I [sic] 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!’,” she said. “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.”