"For all of the Oprah [Winfrey]'s and the people who have just a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of money, most of us are one or two checks away from not having money to pay for all of our things," she said

By Aurelie Corinthios
May 05, 2020 01:56 PM
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Gabrielle Union
Amy Sussman/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

As the coronavirus pandemic halts production on movies and TV shows around the world, it's no secret the entertainment industry is suffering.

During a recent Instagram Live chat with model Sharam Diniz, Gabrielle Union discussed the impact the Hollywood shutdown is having on black actors specifically.

"For all of the Oprah [Winfrey]'s and the people who have just a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of money, most of us are one or two checks away from not having money to pay for all of our things," the actress told Diniz at one point in the interview. "So this stoppage of work and money is impacting marginalized celebrities the most."

After a clip from their talk began circulating online, Union, 47, elaborated on her comments on Twitter.

"DEFINITELY not comparing struggles," she wrote Tuesday. "The question that was asked if you watch the whole thing was SPECIFICALLY about how this is impacting Hollywood/Black Hollywood. I have been at every level of the game so I speak from personal experience. That is all. But let's discuss."

Union also highlighted a tweet about how "black celebrities make less than their peers" and have "less capital to hold them over."

"Also this," she wrote. "I encourage yall to share your stories so folks can better understand the game."

She concluded by citing figures about actors in the Screen Actors Guild.

"The average SAG (actor union) actor makes around 54k a year, while VAST MAJORITY make less than 1k a year from acting work," she tweeted. "If we just look at Black actors those #s go down even further. Lets keep talking. Share your stories. Every actor whose name you recognize started somewhere."

Last year, following her exit from America's Got Talent after allegedly reporting racial insensitivity on set, Union urged black women in the entertainment industry to stand up for themselves.

"Don't be the happy negro that does the bidding of the status quo because you're afraid. Don't allow them to call you angry. When somebody else is saying the same thing, it's called passion," she said during a panel event in New York City in December.

"It is scary. It is terrifying and there is a chance you might lose your job — perhaps I speak from experience, but you have do what you can when you are in those rooms — all skin folk ain't kinfolk," she continued. "Do your best, because corporations want global dollars, and if those corporations don't reflect the global audience, you are going to make so many mistakes trying to reach that global audience. So do your best to try to hold the door open, hold people responsible."