Gabrielle Union: Unless we ‘give every part of ourselves to others we’re selfish’

Gabrielle Union continues to charm us by saying profound sh*t. In the last few weeks she has talked about teaching her daughters black hair love and the importance of having black hairstylists and makeup artists working behind the scenes of film and TV Shows. She’s currently relaunching her hair care line and raising a 21 month-old and 13-year-old daughters.

Gabrielle was a guest on Shondaland’s Katie’s Crib podcast with Katie Lowes, where she talked about the importance of self-care and of centering yourself in your own narrative. Gabrielle told Katie that it is ok for women, specifically mothers, to take time for themselves and their needs. Here are a few excerpts which People reported:

“We’re super conditioned to not center ourselves in our own stories,” says Union, 47, who’s mom to 21-month-old daughter Kaavia James and stepmom to husband Dwayne Wade’s children, including 13-year-old Zaya.

“Anything less than giving every part of ourselves to other people [and] we’re that selfish bitch, we’re the bad mom, we’re the bad wife, we’re the bad friend when you don’t give every piece of yourself to everyone else whenever they feel like they need it,” she continues.

But the star believes it’s “okay to center yourself and your needs and advocate for yourself and be the center of your own story and be the best self for yourself, so you can offer — in reasonable doses, and as you see fit — parts of you to other people,” adding, “We say in our family and in our crew, ‘We all we got.’ Start with you first.”

From People

Women are socially conditioned to believe they are selfish when they do something for themselves. I lead a course on the seven feminine archetypes. One of the projects I have the women do when we study the MOTHER archetype is to take one hour during the week and do something for themselves, specifically take a long luxurious bath and not ask their children or partner to join them. The meltdowns the women had because they felt shame and guilt for centering themselves were profound.

My girl Gabrielle is saying “start with you first” and I love it. In order to be the people we need to be for others we must make sure we take care of ourselves first so that we don’t burn out. There used to be a time I didn’t like Gabrielle because I felt that she wasn’t a nice person, which she admitted to in 2013 in a speech. She says she owes her transformation to trainer, actress and coach A.J. Johnson. Now I cannot get enough of her. She can continue to spit truth as far as I am concerned and I will continue applauding and retweeting her for it.

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23 Responses to “Gabrielle Union: Unless we ‘give every part of ourselves to others we’re selfish’”

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  1. Rmcgrudiva says:

    Ummmmm, I’m interested to hear more about this class you’re teaching…!

    • Anony83 says:

      I was about to say, is there a Oya masterclass that I could take? That class sounds fascinating and like something I’d love to learn about now.

      • Oya says:

        Ya’ll are hilarious. Yes, I teach a 7 feminine archetype class and help women develop the divine attributes of their archetype. It is currently on hold until later in the year as I am getting my yoga platform off the ground.

  2. Suzieq359 says:

    Gabrielle was also a victim of rape so you wonder how much that played into her mean behavior. Having to function through trauma is not an easy task especially when the world is looking at you.

    • Seeker542 says:

      Oh wow, that’s really sad. Totally makes sense if she had a protective persona to counteract that trauma.

  3. BlueSky says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t used to like her. I just remember her coming across as a mean girl. Now, I absolutely love her.

  4. Sam the Pink says:

    Am I going to get flamed if I say I appreciate the message, but it gets lost with the messenger? I get what she’s saying, but here the thing: she’s not living a normal “mother” lifestyle. She’s rich. She’s married to a rich man. She is not experiencing the normal pressures of motherhood that most of us are. It’s easy to take time for yourself when the mundane tasks of the day can be outsourced. Money is a fabulous insulator from most of life. For most of us, we bear the primarily, if not sole responsibility, for feeding our kids, transporting our kids, cleaning the home, etc. We do not have the means to outsource those things, whereas somebody of her means certainly does. And to be clear, I am not judging her for that – if you have those means, by all accounts, use them. But in doing that, you do remove yourself from the reality most of us live with, and your message becomes less relatable.

    • Anony83 says:

      This comes up here a lot and I don’t think ALL rich people lose the ability to empathize with and even experience “normality” either as a mother or as a person. Yes, she has more resources, but the social pressures she’s talking about are probably the same. Or even more so because she IS rich, she IS successful, so everyone assumes she must have endless amounts of help and time to take care of herself, but that’s definitely not something you can just assume. In addition to money, her job comes with really high expectations about the sacrifices that must be made for it, including time away from family. Plus, celebrities have been stuck at home with their kids in the last six months just like other people.

      I mean, this is also not some huge or revolutionary observation about motherhood – that mothers are pressured to put themselves last? I think that’s a fairly common issue mothers struggle with as is finding ways to take time for themselves, whatever that might look like. Even poor mothers (and *definitely* all of my friends who are middle-class) want to and try to find time for themselves, even if it’s just “after the kids are asleep” or “when my Mom can come over and babysit.”

      I think declaring that all rich people must have divorced themselves from reality entirely – especially if that rich person probably spent most of her life living a completely normal lifestyle – is a bit of an overreaction. You’re under no duty to give her opinion any MORE weight than you would otherwise but I think saying that (regardless of content) she cannot give relatable commentary anymore seems unfair. At least, that’s what I think.

      • Sam the Pink says:

        That wasn’t really my point though. I wasn’t arguing that Union can’t feel pressures of motherhood – I think that is inherent in the job. But it IS true that she has access to resources that few of us have. Her reality is NOT my reality. That’s the point. Most mothers have to concern themselves with the far more mundane aspects of having children and a home – cleaning, the laundry, the cooking, etc. Union is a woman with enough means to outsource all of that – and like I said, I do not blame her for that – if I had the money, I would too! But it seems like there’s a lack of recognition of that, which is what makes me roll my eyes. It’s far easier to take time for your own needs when you can pay somebody to address the needs of the children and home that most women (and men too) are expected to handle ourselves. That’s what makes her come off as tone deaf, in my estimation. If somebody from wealth is going to try to relate to those without, I think they need to start by recognizing the disparities.

  5. Lively says:

    Hmmmm …really 🤔

  6. Seeker542 says:

    This is what real growth looks like. I too remember being turned off by Gabrielle Union because of an abrasive personality (and weren’t the conditions in which she got together with her husband sketchy?) But they seem to have a very solid family, she’s really blossomed, especially after the fertility struggles and all.

    I’m interested in hearing more of what she says.

  7. jbyrdku says:

    I 100% agree with her. Happy people are better able to give to others, and I think every woman (in any role) should take at least some time for themselves.

  8. emmy says:

    And men don’t usually have that problem so I say right on. I also believe that women need to stop caring about being perceived as selfish or even truly being selfish without giving a long-winded explanation like Gabrielle is giving here. I agree with her but she shouldn’t even have to justify anything.

    Whenever I – a single, child free woman – am called selfish, it’s either by stressed-out moms or men. Men are just pissed that certain women aren’t available as potential mothers and wives (and cleaning ladies) to them. That’s what they think of as the selfish aspect.

    • Sandii says:

      This…. Very much!

    • lucy2 says:

      Well said!
      The “single/child free women are selfish” thing is so weird to me. Like…how is that selfish? And why is it only women called that, no one calls men in that position selfish. There’s this weird idea that if we aren’t wives and mothers we aren’t doing our job as women, which is such BS.

      A few of my friends really balance motherhood and their own interests and stuff very well. A few haven’t, and it’s all about their partner and kids 100% of the time. The difference seems to be a partner who steps up and shares the load. If you don’t have that, it seems impossible.

      • Sam the Pink says:

        The only way it could be possibly be considered “selfish” is from the government view – a childless person, upon reaching retirement age, represents a net loss to the government, because they produced no new workers to pay into the system. And yeah, it is a bit of a problem when that happens too quickly (see: Japan). Childlessness technically does harm the tax base. There have been some proposals in regards to leveling things out – primarily by “crediting” children to their parents through earlier SS ages (for example, a person with no children would not be able to draw on Social Security until age 70, but a person with one child could draw at 68, a person with two could become eligible at 66, etc.). But I’m not sure how that works without being at least somewhat discriminatory.

      • emmy says:

        I’m German and at least we have paid leave, mandatory health insurance etc. Still, I never had to be a mom but maybe if I could trust that a guy would actually step up… but I look around and that’s the exception. I hate housework with a passion anyway and I would be divorced in minutes if it turned out he was getting complacent. I also like to work and don’t know that it would be doable. Not really. The circumstances are just not great for women who want/need both, kids and a job. If it were different? Maybe. Not like this. If some guy would ever want a kid with me, I would probably suggest we get pets.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      The strange thing is that for women, this doesn’t just stop at the individual level. A woman can be in more than one marginalized group, but it’s still selfish to ‘pick the wrong one’. There are people who think they should be able to choose which of those groups a person has the right to criticize their treatment of based on their moods, habits, and comfort zones.

  9. Nev says:


  10. anniefannie says:

    I was a late in life Mom , engaged at 45 and pregnant 2 months later ( like Haley’s comet)
    after having my daughter I was flabbergasted at the expectations placed on working Moms.
    I’ll never forget commiserating with another Mom about the morning tantrums I had with my daughter about what she could wear to school., to which she replied “ Really?!?, I shove my daughter thru the door and yell,
    “ She dressed herself!” That conversation really changed my perspective about what matters and I’ll always be grateful to that real Mom.

    • AMA1977 says:

      I decided about the time that my strong-willed child could express her opinions about what she wore (around a year old…) that if it was clean and it fit her, she could wear it. She’s put together some very special ensembles over the years, but IDGAF. I am not fighting with small people about clothing. I live in a part of the country where lots of moms do the whole “ruffles and bows and pink and flouncy” look and my girl had no time for ANY of that. I try to remind myself that if it won’t matter a year from now, it doesn’t really matter. I save my energy for battles about their health and safety and try (TRY) to let that other stuff fall away.

      Having a “real mom” friend to show you that it’s okay not to be perfect is so affirming. I love my kids and I show them. I’m not and never will be a Pinterest-perfect mom, but I listen to them, I hug and kiss them, I talk to them with affection, and I do the things I do well (cook, bake) with love in my heart. I don’t think they’ll look back and feel cheated by the things I’m “missing” (at least I hope not!!)

  11. IMUCU says:

    I love those pics of Kaavia! Especially the 2020 calendar challenge, lol!

  12. Ox says:

    I thing wrong with being selfish and know what you want and what you don’t want.
    It’s wrong to be an asshole tho and some people mix those two up.