Token Negro No More: Gabrielle Union Says She’s “Been The One Chip In The Cookie Long Enough”

HIALEAH, FL – APRIL 14: Gabrielle Union launches New Collection at New York Company on April 14, 2018 in Hialeah, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for New York Company)

There was once a time when Gabrielle Union was the token Black girl. If a movie called for an actress of color (or wanted to fulfill its diversity quota by throwing one into the cast), it was a sure bet Gabby was going to be that girl. But decades later, the 45-year-old says it’s time out (or time up) for her being the only one.

“I’ve been the one chip in the cookie long enough. I don’t want to be the magical Negro,” she explained to Ebony magazine. “I don’t feel extra special when the White gaze is upon me. I don’t feel invincible,” added Gabby who appears on the cover of the mag’s April/May issue.

Of course, there’s been a bit of progress in recent years, particularly on television with the Being Mary Jane star not being the only one in terms of Black female leads on hit shows. On ABC there was Kerry Washington and Viola Davis and on Fox, Taraji P. Henson has been doing her thing on Empire. But with Scandal and BMJ ending this year, the gap has again widened somewhat, though Gabby will be appearing onscreen in the new Bad Boys spinoff with Jessica Alba later this year, which will mean two female leads of color on a promising series.

Still, Gabby said, “I don’t want to be there by myself; in fact, I don’t want there to be two or three people in the room and have someone shout, ‘We’ve achieved diversity!’ No, there’s three. It’s like we’re supposed to be a microcosm of the world. I don’t want to be a part of the hoodwinking of America, of our global community.”