Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade NAACP Speech
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Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade Show Solidarity With Black Trans People During NAACP Image Awards

During the 54th NAACP Image Awards, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade gave an emotional tribute to Black trans people.

Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade showed their solidarity with Black trans people during the 54th NAACP Image Awards. On Saturday (February 25), the husband and wife came to the stage to extend their message of unity while accepting the prestigious President's Award.

“We stand up here today as two people who have worked tirelessly to have resources and access. As two people willing to use our microphones for what we believe and what other families are going through,” the former NBA player said. “I’m intentional when I use my platform. I recognize what I have been given, and it is my job to uplift the voices of others and share my access and resources.”

Wade then addressed his teenage daughter, Zaya, who came out as transgender in 2020.

Zaya, as your father, all I’ve wanted to do was get it right,” he added. “I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you have taken on the public scrutiny. And even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of the house every morning as yourself. I admire how you handle the ignorance in our world … that you face every day. To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement.”

He continued, “Thank you for showing me that there’s more than one way to communicate effectively. You taught me that communication with your mouth isn’t enough. I have to also communicate with my two ears and my two eyes. As your father, my job is not to create a version of myself or direct your future. My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes and your dreams.”

Earlier that week, Zaya was granted an official name change and assignment of gender, per People.

Stepping up to the microphone, Union-Wade also acknowledged issues faced by her stepdaughter and other Black trans people.

“It’s humbling to stand here surrounded by friends and heroes, OGs and icons, all working to advance the lives of Black people and pay respect to an organization that has led us through over a century of relentless challenge, pain, triumph and change,” she said. “And now stands with us again at the foot of a very new era of activism. A new era that demands our collective answer to one simple question: Will we fight for some, or will we fight for all of our people?”

Gabrielle Union continued, “Let’s just name a couple hard truths. First, the intersection of Black rights and the rights of the LGBTQIA, trans and gender-nonconforming people continues to be rough — that’s a huge understatement. Even as we demand equality at the top of our lungs, we consistently fail to extend our advocacy to protect some of our most vulnerable among us. And second, Black trans people are being targeted, terrorized and hunted in this country, every day, everywhere. And there’s rarely a whisper about it.

Union-Wade, who starred in LGBTQ drama The Inspection, concluded: We honestly don’t approach this work as activists or leaders as much as we do this as parents. Parents who love our children and will do whatever the hell we can to keep them seen, secured and safe. This is a conversation worth having in ways that actually build bridges; that don’t fan the flame of hatred or division; that don’t enable lawmakers or justice systems to look the other way when Black trans people are under attack; that don’t drive more young people to hate themselves or harm themselves; that don’t cost people their lives. So we are humbled and we are hopeful for the future. I’m hopeful, we are hopeful that we may witness a real shift in the fight for justice, the moment, the movement makes room for everyone.”

Watch the full speech below.