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Gabrielle Union Had to School Dwayne Wade’s Sons on the Beauty of Dark Skin Women

Gabrielle Union Had to School Dwayne Wade's Sons on the Beauty of Dark Skin Women
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By Erickka Sy Savané

You would think that marrying a beautiful brown-skinned TV and film star like Gabrielle Union would be enough to show Dwayne Wade’s sons that darker-skinned women are beautiful. Think again.

In a recent interview with Refinery29, the Gabs revealed a very important conversation that she had with NBA star Dwayne Wade’s 3 boys, and nephew, about colorism. In a nutshell, she asked them to show her who the hottest girls in their school were on instagram, and they all came back with…wait for it…light-skinned, curly-haired, big butt and boob girls. 

Collective sigh.

It took me back to an article I wrote called ‘What Are We Teaching Our Boys About Black Beauty’ when rapper Kodak Black went off the rails talking about not liking dark-skinned women or his own dark skin. I interviewed a friend who has two sons, 8 and 13 year’s old, about whether or not she’s reinforcing black beauty, and she said,

“My husband and I have never focused on skin color, but we talk to our sons a lot about valuing what’s in a person’s heart, not what she looks like on the outside.” 

Pump the breaks…while it’s commendable to reinforce the beauty in one’s heart…we can’t ignore colorism.

When Gabby recognized a glaring red light when these young black boys only saw the beauty of light skin, she stepped in and began pulling up dark-skinned beauties on instagram, including actress Ryan Destiny, star of Lee Daniel’s ‘Star.’ Gabby says, 

“They’re like, ‘Oh, she bad!’ ‘But do you know how many Ryan Destinies there are?’ I pull up every Black model, women from all over the world, and they’re beautiful. But they don’t see the beauty unless it comes from an actress or a supermodel or a video vixen. They have to have somebody else tell them that a chocolate woman is attractive for them to believe it.”

Gabrielle Union Had to School Dwayne Wade's Sons on the Beauty of Dark Skin Women

Ryan Destiny 


Black boys do have to have someone tell them that chocolate women are beautiful for them to believe it. It’s the same with our girls. We have to go that extra mile because we’ve been shown time and again that society isn’t set up for people are darker hues…But it’s not impossible. I’m encouraged by men like Kofi Siriboe and his rumored relationship with model Duckie. Dude is smitten like a kitten!

Gabrielle Union Had to School Dwayne Wade's Sons on the Beauty of Dark Skin Women
Model Duckie and Kofi Siriboe

Gabrielle Union Had to School Dwayne Wade's Sons on the Beauty of Dark Skin Women
President Barack and Michelle Obama
Then there’s our favorite First couple Barack and Michelle…

Now did they grow up in a household where black beauty was reinforced in the home? For Kofi, who grew up with a strong Ghanaian mom, perhaps. For Barack, who grew up with his white mom and then white grandparents, it’s unlikely. But it can’t hurt, and can only help. 

I’ve seen the difference it makes with my own young daughters to proactively show them photos of beautiful brown and dark-skinned women (women who look like them) on TV, instagram, and in real life. Now they point out beautiful black women to me before I can even say anything. We have to educate them on how to see black beauty. Admittedly, my own education has come largely from instagram where dark-skin beauties are in abundance. See them and you know they’re in a league all their own….you know, maybe we don’t have these conversations with our young black boys because we think that there’s nothing we can do to combat colorism and this seemingly automatic turn towards lighter-skin women. This country is old and this has been going on a long time. But hopefully, what Gabrielle Union did with her step-sons, and what many of us parents are doing with our own younguns, will show that it’s possible to reshape this colorism conversation. After all, look what we did with hair. 

Do you proactively affirm dark-skin beauty?

Gabrielle Union Had to School Dwayne Wade's Sons on the Beauty of Dark Skin Women
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in,,, and more. When she’s not writing…wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  

One Comment

  • Sammy Cooper says:

    Good and informative article. But what do we do with people being more attracted to white/fair skin compared to dark skin? This is a huge problem but sadly some don’t see it that way. People may not talk about it openly but to the observant person it is pretty conspicuous that more men prefer white women to black women. For example, if one looks at the girl friends/partners/wives of the black players in soccer’s English premier league it isn’t difficult to see that most of them are white women! There is an attraction towards white skin, straight hair, sharp nose, etc., among a big majority of non-white people. This can be seen in the popularity of skin lightening / fairness creams among non-white people. While white people like to have a tan that is not the same as non-white people wanting to be fair/white. It seems like human nature tends to favor lighter skin / white skin and the related facial features? What is your take on this? Thank you.

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