It’s no secret that Gabrielle Union was fired from NBC’s hit show “America’s Got Talent.” In November it was announced that the actress was let go from the show along with Julianna Hough, but apparently, the star had a lot to say about leaving.
The 47-year-old revealed that the environment behind-the-scenes was quite problematic and that she racism and sexism during her tenure on the show. According to a 2019 Variety report, sources told the publication that Gabrielle had been told that her ever-changing hairstyles were “too Black” for their white audiences, producers had issues with her wanting to know transgender contestants pronouns and she went to HR about Jay Leno making a racist joke about Koreans “eating dogs.”
And because she spoke out, also complaining about the show’s creator Simon Cowell’s illegal smoking on-set, she was labeled “difficult” and let go.
Naturally, it’s our job to support our fellow brothers and sisters who are experiencing bias in Hollywood, and many of us have. But for whatever reason, fellow AGT host Terry Crews refuses to have Gabrielle’s back. Even worse, he’s been making a series of shocking statements, discrediting the actress’ claims.
Just last week, Terry went on TODAY defending AGT, saying, “First of all, I can’t speak for sexism because I’m not a woman, but I can speak on behalf of any racist comments.
He then doubled down, claiming “that was never my experience on ‘America’s Got Talent.’ In fact, it was one of the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment.”
Of course, Black Twitter had words, throwing out phrases like “Uncle Tom,” and Gabrielle also had a tidbit to share via Twitter about Terry’s words.
As the criticisms drew in, one would expect Terry to take responsibility for his incorrect statements and make things right. Instead, this week he made a series of statements that may as well have cost him support from the Black community.
“There is only one woman on earth I have to please. Her name is Rebecca. Not my mother, my sister, my daughters, or co-workers. i will let their husbands/boyfriends/partners take care of them. Rebecca gives me WINGS,” he Tweeted on Jan. 27.
Oh and then there’s this gem:
Of course, I have to unpack this.
Time and time again, history has shown us all that Black women rise to the occasion defending our Black kings, at the frontlines fighting the good fight for them. So why is it that some Black men fail to give Black women the same respect?
When Terry spoke out against being sexually assaulted in 2017 by Adam Verit, a former high powered white Hollywood producer, at a Netflix event, Black women, including Union, immediately jumped to his defense. Not once did she undermine his claims or try to defend Verit. She heard Terry’s truth, respected his position and gave her support, defending him against others including DL Hughley and 50 Cent who victim-blamed Terry.
Back then, he was all too grateful to the sistas who had his back, telling Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live! that WE were the only ones to have his back.
Funny how things can change in a year.
Now there’s no denying that Black women in Hollywood receive various forms of mistreatment including not making as much money as their white female counterparts, experiencing the intersections of racism and sexism, being overlooked for awards and roles they rightfully deserve, and more. So knowing this, especially as someone who has been visible in the most-female and feminist #MeToMovement, why would Terry speak out against Gabrielle? Why couldn’t he be the ally she has always been to him?
Some may say it’s because he wants to make sure he remains in good graces with the show and white people. Others might say he simply could care less about Gabrielle and is only interested in his trajectory through Hollywood.
Whatever the case, as a Black woman, I’m sick and tired of Black men who have the platform to do right by us, but fail to do so. No, I’m not forcing Black men to rise to the occasion. I would much rather have support from men who identify with our struggles and truly want to back us because they love and respect us. So, if it’s not in your heart to support us, don’t do it.
But then just sit there, eat your food and say “no comment.” And then for him to really get on the Internet and say that the only person he has to please is his wife? It’s so disgusting. So he’s not worried about his daughters?
In the end, Gabrielle deserved better. Black women deserve better. We’re more than your cheerleaders. More than your mules. More than your maids. Yes, we’re all familiar with Malcolm X’s famous quote, “the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman.”
I just didn’t think in 2020 that would still be the case, and from our beloved own.
What say you? Do you agree with Terry Crews? Are you #TeamGabby? Let’s discuss this in the comment section below.