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Gabrielle Union Would Love to Talk to Amy Schumer, Kate Upton About White Privilege

Gabrielle Union 'The Birth Of A Nation' Premiere
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

Gabrielle Union is working to change the conversation about race in Hollywood.

Speaking about her role in The Birth of a Nation, the actress told XoNecole that while she didn’t spend much time with her white co-stars on set, she said they are “definitely aware of what white privilege is,” though she’s unsure of just how aware, noting that awareness and behavior are two different things.

“Now how aware they are of their own privilege, I don’t know because that comes with consistent behavior modification,” she explained. “We will see on their next film if they’re still talking about the necessity of addressing oppression and racial inequality.”

Union has, however, spoken personally about white privilege with with GIRLS writer/director/star Lena Dunham, who came under fire in early September for making racially-charged remarks about NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. in her Lenny Letter newsletter—and she added that she would love to discuss the matter directly with other celebrities.

“I’ve already talked to Lena Dunham,” the Being Mary Jane star revealed, adding, “I would love to talk to Kate Upton and Amy Schumer. Maybe I can help to explain the oppressive systems that have benefited and allowed them to say these careless, insensitive and offensive things. Those conversations are awkward as f— and they get heated. Similar to watching people have conversations about consent.”

Schumer and Upton have both found themselves in hot water after inadvertently silencing the lived experiences of black men and men of color on Twitter.

When a social researcher tweeted, “Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, et. al refuse to see that misogyny among men of color, while hideously prevalent, is no more so than among white men,” in a since-deleted tweet Schumer replied, “How would you know? Statistically who is hollering at you in the street more pa?”

Meanwhile, Upton tweeted about the Colin Kaepernick controversy and the NFL players who chose to kneel during the National Anthem on September 11, calling their act of protest against police brutality and violence against the black community “unacceptable,” adding that they should “be proud to be an American.”

Racial inequality is not the only issue Union hopes to create public discourse about, either.

Earlier this month, the actress, who has spoken openly about being a rape survivor, penned an essay for The LA Times about rape culture, consent and her work on The Birth of a Nation, which is directed by Nate Parker, who has been accused of sexual assault.

“Some people have said, ‘If you’re a feminist, you should boycott the film.’ And I was like, ‘But wait, my role in the film and the reason I signed on was to talk about sexual violence,'” Union explained to XoNecole.

“So it feels a– backwards to shirk that responsibility when the controversy swirling around our film is around sexual violence so who better to speak on it than me?” she continued. “And if I take myself out of the conversation because it’s uncomfortable and because I’m worried about my brand, then my brand ain’t s— if I don’t stand up for what I’ve always stood up for since I became a rape survivor.”

Did You Know These Celebrities Are the Same Age?

NEXT: GABRIELLE UNION WRITES ESSAY ON RAPE CULTURE + CONSENT

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