Gabrielle Union Talks Shadeism, Self-Esteem & Love in Ebony Magazine’s October 2012 Issue

Gabrielle Union in Ebony mag


Looking beautiful and radiant as always, actress Gabrielle Union gracefully covers Ebony Magazine’s October 2012 issue, due out on stands today! In the cover story, Union touches a bit on the topic of shadeism by promoting a healthy view that sisters on the darker side of the shade continuum should uphold about their melanin imbued skin.

In Union’s words:

“Your deep Mahogany skin may not resemble that of the others in your family, but it’s just as gorgeous and you’re just as worthy….One day you’ll appreciate how much your brown skin shines in the moonlight, glistens in the sun and ages ever so slowly.”

Right she is. Within my circle, I have witnessed a significant decrease in the amount of conversations I have with people about skin tone vis-a-vis self esteem. Perhaps, the dwindling of discourses around the topic can be attributed to the fact that more and more people are beginning to embrace themselves in their natural state, particularly in the department of hair. Also, thanks to the Global Village in which we live, there appears to be more noise being made by way of videos, editorials and the like surrounding the health risks (i.e. skin cancer) people potentially face in their attempts to lighten their skin with carcinogen containing creams and ointments, which is hopefully making an impression on whether or not people choose to tamper with skin lightening mechanisms.

I appreciate the fact that Gabrielle Union has decided to promote ideas of self-love and self-esteem in the magazine, since they are topics that connect droves of women across the globe. Personally, as with many other women – I sometimes point out what I would like to enhance about myself, and while my skin tone has never been a cause for concern to me [thanks to having a family that has never made one’s skin pigmentation a worthwhile topic of conversation], it has however been a major issue for some of those closest to me.

From having friends who have gone from having such disdain for their skin tone to them then beginning to embrace their shade because they saw an African model marching down a runway ever so elegantly; to having friends who swore off dark skinned men: Tis’ true that in a tightly knit world, inspiration carries much weight. I am constantly being inspired by others’ words, life lessons, trials, and tribulations. To hear from friends that men have actually uttered the words, “you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl,” is cringe-worthy at best.

As I paraphrase Union’s words, don’t allow others’ opinions of you to leave a lasting impress in your mind. It will merely “dampen your spirit.” Overtime, speaking for myself – I have learnt to embrace my flaws and accept the reality that stands before me. I just give thanks for life, breath and love.

I encourage you to grab a copy of Ebony Magazine’s October issue, if you have not yet done so.



  • Editor Nicole Seck

    Thanks Miss Anya!