We always hear about "haters", the "jealous ones", those with "green eyes". It seems as if everyone has got some haters but who is doing the actual hating? I saw Gabrielle Union's acceptance speech at an Essence Magazine Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon a couple of months ago and was immediately struck by the rawness and truth of her speech as she spoke about being a "mean girl" in Hollywood.
It struck me, because you look at Gabrielle and you see a beautiful black womyn who is talented, funny and has had the opportunity to star in some great movies. From the outside looking in, there is absolutely no reason to hate. When we think of "haters" we think of the girl behind her computer spouting out unnecessary mean with each tap of her keyboard. Or when we think of "mean girls", we automatically picture those girls from highschool who thought they were better than x, y and z. But, we hardly discuss the silent and subtle hate or negativity that we sometimes inflict on each other because we feel less than the next. This is why Gabby's speech was so powerful because she exemplifies the womyn (like many of us) who has it together yet is still comparing every area of our lives to the next womyn sizing up if we measure up to her.
A truthful thing that Gabrielle mentioned was that because of the way Hollywood is set up and the competitive nature of it, she constantly felt like her light was dimmed in the presence of the glowing light of another womyn. Who hasn't experienced that? You feel confident, pretty, talented, smart and whatever else, until you get around that womyn who seems like she has all of the above and much more. Then you slowly start to shrink and all of the amazing that you felt about yourself begins to diminish. In Gabby's case and in many other womyn's, we choose to tear each other down with reasons why she isn't actually "all that". But by reasoning why the next womyn isn't really all that, what does that do for you? How does that benefit you?
I watched Gabrielle's speech again this weekend because I knew that she along with Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, and Viola Davis would be on Oprah's 'Next Chapter' speaking about this topic and the frustrations that black actresses face. I love the way Gabrielle explained how she left her mean girl ways behind.
Gabrielle told Oprah:
“I think nowadays there is this celebration of, as the kids say, ‘the ratchet… the ratchetness.’ You are supported in tearing other people down. There is a forum for it, there’s a huge spotlight on you to do that. People are like ‘How did you move from being a mean, vindictive, hateful person who couldn’t be happy for other people to embracing and truly being supportive?’ And really it came down to we were in a room, we were at a party and I was holding court because I could turn phrase and be a little slick myself. And I was trashing somebody. You know, just ripping them to shreds, head to toe. And A.J. pulls me to the side and she says, ‘Ok, so how did your life change? Did you get the guy? Did you get the job? Is your house any bigger? Did money just magically get put in your pocket? What positive happened in your life after you just tore that woman down?”
I suggest you check out her full speech at the Essence luncheon here. It's a must see!
What did you all think of Gabby's speech? Did anything resonate with you? Let's discuss in the comments!