This was by far one of the best books I have read this year. I didn’t expect Isis from Bring It On to deliver such a powerful memoir that touches on topics stemming from race and sexual assault to rom-coms.
Gabrielle Union was ubiquitous in the 2000s, or at least my 2000s, as the friend of the lead in movies like 10 Things I Hate About You and the aforementioned Bring It On before segueing into meatier roles in movies that catered more to African American audiences.
Union struggled to get comfortable in her own skin as a teenager; she grew up in a predominately white, upper middle class California suburb and felt she had to hide her blackness from her classmates. During the summer she would go to Omaha to spend time with her grandmother & cousins and she would be accused of not being black enough. She is now co-parenting her husband’s, Dwayne Wade, three children and trying to keep three young black men safe from the increasing dangers they face in America today.
“What did you tell the kids to say when they’re stopped by police?” I asked him.
“Well, I told them what to say in case-”
“WHAT did you tell them?”
“I told them to say their full names and our address.”
“Wrong answer,” I say. “‘I’m Dwayne Wade’s kid.’That’s what they say.”
I think what put her memoir over the top for me was her struggle with infertility. Union shares that she has had roughly 8 miscarriages trying to have a biological child with husband Dwayne Wade. I personally have spent about eighteen months trying to get pregnant, first having to have cancerous cells removed from my cervix and respecting the healing process outlined by my doctor only to be derailed by a PCOS diagnosis. I appreciate when public figures share their struggles to start a family if only to commiserate with someone about the difficulties childless married couples go through, including a constant barrage of “when are you starting a family?”
Union also writes a really strong essay about being raped at work as a college student which is heartbreaking and terrifying, but she injects a lot of humor throughout each story so while she covers some heavy topics they are delivered in an easy to read style. Every essay was strong and relatable- whether you’re a Bad Boys fan or not. How relatable? She’s married to Dwayne Wade and she admits she still Facebook stalks the guy she lost her virginity to. Very relatable.
The other question I get asked is “What were you wearing?” I got raped at work and people still want to know what role I played in what happened to me.