Gabrielle Union Graces ‘Essence,’ Talks Sexual Assault and Police Brutality

Being a rape survivor, the actress understands if people refuse to see "Birth of a Nation."

While actress Gabrielle Union is no stranger to gracing Essence, her November cover is possibily the most stunning one yet. 


The 43-year old is flawless in a belted patent leather raincoat, sleek-straight bob and a smoldering smokey eye.

During her candid interview, the "Birth of a Nation" star kept it real, saying that she understands if people don't want to see her new film given the contraversey around director Nate Parker's past rape allegations.

“As a rape survivor and as an advocate, I cannot shy away from this responsibility because the conversation got difficult. I don’t want to put myself above anyone’s pain or triggers. Every victim or survivor, I believe you. I support you. I support you if you don’t want to see the film. I absolutely understand and respect that,” Union told Essence.

She added: “This movie has always been about more than one person, and for the outspoken feminist advocates and allies who risked a lot to be a part of this project—Aja Naomi King, Aunjanue Ellis, Penelope Ann Miller—we are okay if you have to sit this one out, and we’re okay if you don’t."

The stepmother to three of her husband Dwyane Wade's sons opened up about being "terrified" of how police brutality will impact their lives.

"Teens get teen-y. It's harder. I never understood that. 'You won't sleep.' I always associated that phrase with babies. Crying, teething babies. No. Until they walk through the door, I'm terrified," the "Being Mary Jane" actress said.

"Sometimes I just want to stay off my timeline, because it makes those waits until they walk through the door a thousand times worse. Just envisioning them as a hashtag," she admitted.

Union also stressed that now in her career, she wants to have more power behind the scenes.

“I don’t just want to be a hired gun. I want to have a little bit more control over the narrative. The only way I can be empowered to do that is to be a producer. Now with as many projects that will have me, it’s part of the deal.”

The November issue of Essence drops on newsstands October 14.

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