In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.
One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: "It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real."
In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.
The Sexy Nerd ‘Revue’
Gabrielle with that cute pixie fairy face and chocolate brown skin was such a pure delight to watch on the silver screen. She ruled the 90s with such films as She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You, as well as in the millennium with Deliver Us From Eva (which is one of my all-time favs.) and Two Can Play That Game (Another huge fav.) and Daddy’s Little Girls to name a few. I thought she was talented and appeared pretty smart and I, for one, was happy to see a brown sister handling her own.
But, as with most memoirs, Gabrielle didn’t become the Gabrielle that we all know and love from her films. It took a good while for her to come into her own. With special thanks from her upbringing in white California suburbia but originally coming from Omaha, Nebraska, which, by the way, I was shocked because I don’t know anyone from there nor have I ever heard of anyone famous from there until Gabrielle. So kudos to Nebraska for turning out such a well-rounded home grown talented woman.
It was quite shocking to find out she has such a potty mouth, but then again, so do I, but it was an enjoyable shock! She went through all of the growing pains that most of us endure when we’re teens from boy crushes, rap music, discovering marijuana and sipping on gin and juice or whatever it was you drank back in the day. She and her siblings came up middle-class and had the education to back it up. And what I loved is how Gabrielle demonstrated on how comfortable white people were around her to the point they just blurted out whatever the hell came to their minds without so much as to give any thought to her presence. It’s amazing how that happens.
She touched on her athleticism and how she confronts a challenge, which proves why she’s still relevant in Black Hollywood, as she should be. It saddened my soul when I learned of her rape. My God, I felt the words through the pages. Jeez it was very hard to read because Gabrielle didn’t hold anything back. She let it ooze out of her soul and into the hearts of her readers. As I mentioned earlier, she confronts challenges head on, and she stumbled a little when that happened to her, but quickly regained her footing and got herself together. You know why that is? Because Gabrielle got professional help which is an awesome thing to do! Let me state that again for my people of color~~She! Got! Professional! Help! In my culture we often feel that asking for “professional” help is like shouting to the world, “hey I’m crazy!” No, it’s crazy when you know you need professional help but refuse to seek it. Thank God Gabrielle had sense and sought out the help she needed, which is why she’s such a strong ass woman today! Yassss!
Her sense of humor was through the roof. I tell ya, there were times when I was reading in the early morning (my favorite time to read), and I would bust a gut for real. I had no idea Gabrielle could be so damn funny and deep at the same time. Her words were very thought provoking and insightful in helping her readers gain a rare glimpse into what would be considered her inner most secret parts of her soul. So for her to bare it all the way she did, let me know this book wasn’t about B.S. She told her story the way it needed to be told and she was raw, gritty, unapologetic and real! That’s the ingredients for a damn good memoir and I absolutely one hundred percent enjoyed every word I read.
The way she met Dwayne was so cute, and surprise, surprise, who knew that one of my all-time favorite entertainers ever to do it, Prince, is the sole reason why she met her current husband. And thank God for that because her first husband was a real damn doozy! Holy cow! The crap that man put her through! Sheesh! But, as she stated, you live and you learn and she’s matured very nicely I might add. She’s embraced being a stepmom and a mother to her daughter and stepsons. The Wades live a pretty lavish life that they are so deserving of. It’s great when you work hard and it shows through the fruits of your labor. They have a strong sense of self, and are doing their absolute best to raise their children in a crazy world so they can stand on their own feet and tackle the world as it will undoubtedly tackle them.
Overall, this was a refreshing read! I absolutely love biographies and memoirs, especially those who are real. I’ve read some memoirs where you know it’s all a bunch of crap just to sell a book because they are famous. Gabrielle spoke honestly and truthfully, in my opinion. If she didn’t, well we already know she’s a great actress (wink, wink!), but seriously, I really felt her book was genuine and well worth the retailer price.
The Sexy Nerd gives We’re Going to Need More Wine five pours from the wine bottle. If you’re a fan of Gabrielle’s or a fan, in general, of memoirs, I urge you, Sexy Nerds, to please pick up a copy of this book and/or download at your favorite book retailers. It’s a pretty quick read and I guarantee you’re going to have a lot of fun laughing along the way. Until your next good read, keep it sexy and get mind blown!