With black women in film and television, Hollywood has seen its pendulum swing between infrequent bursts of progress and frequent moments of regression. This notion applies to the debate around tokenism. Many film companies and TV networks continue to operate under the mentality that there can only be one token black actress or a select few holding the mantle on film and television. Halle Berry followed Angela Bassett, and Gabrielle Union was no exception to this issue.

In her latest cover feature for Ebony, the seasoned actress talks candidly about diversity in Hollywood, tokenism and Hollywood’s centering of black women in film and television.

Photo: Ebony
Photo: Ebony

The former Being Mary Jane star gets candid about her experience being the token black girl. “I’ve been the one chip in the cookie long enough. I don’t want to be the magical Negro,” she said. “I don’t feel extra special when the white gaze is upon me. I don’t feel invincible.”

The Omaha, Nebraska native, who will star in the upcoming Bad Boys spinoff later this year, continues to use her own “gift of Gab” to amplify the need for more black female leads on screen.

“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,” she said.