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5 Profound Gabrielle Union Moments from Her Raw Book of Essays

This article originally appeared on InStyle.com.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: We need t..

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This article originally appeared on InStyle.com.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: We need to talk about Gabrielle Union.

The actress just turned 45 this week (seriously: not a typo), and we’re bursting with reasons to celebrate her. Union, who’s been a Hollywood fixture since the '90s, this month released her first book, a collection of autobiographical essays called We’re Going to Need More Wine ($16; amazon.com). And I can reliably speak for 99 percent of readers when I say it f—in’ blew our minds.

If the newly minted author wasn’t your ride-or-die already (hey there, Being Mary Jane fans), this book is going to make her your hero. I’ve never been a religious person, but I imagine this is how people feel when they find salvation, or Netflix, or whatever.

Without further adieu, here are the best revelations from Union’s new book—but don’t think this means you can get out of reading it!

Her Bring It On Character Began as a Caricature—Until She Stepped in

“…When I got the script for the table read, my character, Isis, was a combination of Foxy Brown and eight other Blaxploitation characters squeezed into a skintight cheerleader uniform,” Union writes. “There were all these made-up slang words.”

Gabrielle shared a line from the original script: “Ossaywhattawhattawhat? Me-ow. Me gonna ow you. My nails are long, sharp, and ready to slash.” Oof.

To combat the over-the-top dialogue, Union sat down with director Peyton Reed and helped rewrite lines.

RELATED: Gabrielle Union’s Collection of Press Tour Looks Is Truly Next-Level

She Became Good Friends with Prince

The late singer used to host elaborate and star-studded dinner parties, to which Gabrielle was often invited.

“He was also funny,” Gabrielle says of the Purple Rain musician, “repeating phrases he found comical, like ‘I’m not sayin,’ I’m just sayin.’’ Melodic punch lines, over and over, keeping us all laughing.”

In fact, she credits her marriage to Wade to Prince. She met the basketball player’s brother at the musician’s 2007 Golden Globes party. And upon learning Wade was a big fan of hers, she agreed to co-host a Super Bowl party with him later that year. Cue the ~fireworks~!

Gabrielle Met Unfair Assumptions on the Set of Friends

Union, one of two black guest stars on 10 seasons of Friends, was eager to add some diversity to the sitcom. However, one of the directors alienated her on set, underestimating her experience when she’d been acting for years.

“The director was a regular, he did a lot of episodes. He went over the scene with David Schwimmer, Matt Perry, and the extras. Then he turned to me, and his tone completely changed,” she writes. “’Do you know what a mark is?’ he said in a singsong voice. ‘You stay on that so the camera can see you.’ It was like he was talking to a toddler. He assumed on sight that I didn’t know a single thing.”

“His tone was so condescending, as if I had just wandered in off the street or won a contest for a Friends walk-on,” she continues. “I had four films under my belt that had either opened at No. 1 at the box office at number two behind blockbusters like the freaking Matrix."

She Cherishes Her Bond with the Late Heath Ledger

Gabrielle describes the Australian Oscar winner as a truly great and memorable character among her 10 Things I Hate About You castmates. "He opened his mouth and he was James Bond," she said of initially meeting the then-unknown actor.

"I don't want to overstate my own bond with Heath," she continues, "because every single one of us shared it. Whenever I tan into him in L.A. after 10 Things, it was like we had just wrapped yesterday. There was never the weird Hollywood distance that creeps in. His loss was a death in the family that all of us felt equally."

Her Favorite Show (That She Doesn’t Star on) Is Nashville

In the latter half of the book, Union shares that she and husband Dwayne Wade have to watch the CMT drama together. Gab is a loyal binge-watcher and plans each viewing to a T: “We always assemble our snacks beforehand because we don’t want to get up during the show. It’s all about being able to barrel through the episode.” Amen. “And of course we have our phones beside us, too, so we can tweet about Nashville, which is almost as good as watching Nashville,” she shares. Game respects game—we like your style, Gabrielle.

For more from the incredible Gabrielle Union, shop her brilliant book—seriously, do it!

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On my radar: Moses Sumney’s cultural highlights

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theguardian– Singer-songwriter Moses Sumney, 29, grew up between Ghana and California and studied creative writing and poetry at UCLA. His piercing falsetto and genre-defying music have brought him critical acclaim, starting with his self-recorded 2014 EP Mid-City Island, followed in 2017 by his debut album, Aromanticism, and the 2020 double album Græ. Sumney has collaborated with musicians including Bon Iver and James Blake and toured with Solange and Sufjan Stevens. His latest project is Blackalachia, a self-directed concert film created in association with WePresent, shot over two days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, where he lives.

1. TV

Selling Sunset (Netflix)

I pity anyone who hasn’t seen this show. It’s a reality show about a real estate agency in west Hollywood, and it follows the lives and deals of the people who work there, predominantly the female staff who are all ridiculously Barbie-ish – essentially “career Barbie on crack”. It’s incredible. I love reality TV – it tells us a lot about humanity. Reality shows are always inherently dated, so they’re a great capsule of the modern era.

2. Music

Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty by Yeule

I don’t know what it is about this song, but I’m addicted to it. Yeule is a Singaporean artist based in London who’s kind of new on the scene, and this song is just so hypnotising – it hints and winks at hyperpop while being an absolutely heart-shattering folk tune. It’s a beautiful amalgamation of a lot of different genres, and it’s stunning. I have a lot of playlists – for driving, for chilling at night, a morning playlist, a folk playlist – and this is in all of them.

3. Book

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

I’m currently reading this – I put off reading it because it looks like a self-help book – but it’s really fascinating. The author is an artist who works largely in digital art and the book is about how to free yourself from the capitalist trappings of the workforce – not necessarily saying “quit your job”, but suggesting a new path for work. It asks the question: how can we construct our identities apart from defining ourselves by what we do and by our income? It’s a very radical book, and it’s often a hard read. But it has been mind-shifting.

4. Place

Western North Carolina

I’ve been travelling a lot for work, so I’ve been thinking about how much I would prefer to spend my time in western North Carolina, particularly in the mountains, where I live. I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. I first arrived in Asheville when I was on tour and knew immediately I wanted to live here. You turn around, 360 degrees in any direction, and you’re surrounded by trees, by the sound of animals, and that’s really a rare feeling for anyone who’s spent most of their life, as I have, living in the city.

5. Film

Eve’s Bayou (Kasi Lemmons, 1997)

This stars a young Jurnee Smollett, who recently had a resurgence with Lovecraft Country. She’s 10 years old in the film, which is set in a fictional small town in Louisiana. Samuel L Jackson stars as the patriarch of the family, who is maybe cheating on his wife, his daughter sets out to kill him and punish him, perhaps through witchcraft. It was incredibly critically acclaimed and subsequently snubbed by every major award ceremony. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking film. I first saw it last year and I think about it every day.

6. Fashion

Balenciaga

The couture line that Balenciaga launched this summer is another thing that has permanent residency in my brain. I think that what Demna [Gvasalia, creative director] is doing with sculpture and architecture through fashion is some of the most interesting theatre of our time. It’s like a marriage of Romantic and gothic style – it’s a bit ecclesiastical, almost monastic, and I want it all. There’s this really wonderful circular headpiece that feels like: “I’m going to service, but in the year 3021.”

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Hong Kong’s famous Tiananmen Square ‘Pillar of Shame’ statue removed from university

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cnn– For more than 20 years the “Pillar of Shame” sculpture stood as a memorial to the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, in which the Chinese military crushed protests led by college students in Beijing with deadly force.
Atop a podium in the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) campus, the 26-foot-tall (8 meter) statue of contorted human torsos was one of the last iconic memorials to victims of the bloody crackdown remaining on Hong Kong soil.
But around midnight on Thursday, yellow construction barriers were erected around the statue and the sounds of cracking and demolition were heard as the sculpture was removed under the cover of darkness.
Images taken during the removal process show workers wrapping the statue in protective film and lifting it out of the campus on a crane in two distinct parts. The HKU Council, the university’s governing body, said in a statement the sculpture will be held in storage.
A witness said Thursday morning the site of the sculpture is now empty and students have been seen crying on campus following the removal. CNN agreed to not disclose the name of this witness because the person feared retribution from authorities.
That fear of retribution is common among those who speak out against authorities in Hong Kong since Beijing imposed the National Security Law on the city in 2020, punishing offenses such as subversion and secession with sentencesof up to life in prison.
The HKU Council said in a statement the removal “was based on external legal advice and risk assessment for the best interest of the university.”
The sculpture, which stood in the Haking Wong Building of the university, was part of a series of works by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt created in 1997 — the year Hong Kong was returned to China after more than 150 years of British rule. The sculpture includes the inscription: “The old cannot kill the young forever,” and was built to serve “as a warning and a reminder to people of a shameful event which must never reoccur,” according to the description on Galschiøt’s website.
Galschiøt called the statue’s removal “a very hard attack against the free word in the world.”
He told CNN that he hopes to bring the statue back to Denmark so he can reassemble it. His wish is to then bring it to Washington D.C., where he hopes to place it in front of the Chinese Embassy. There, it will serve as a message to Beijing that the massacre is remembered and spoken about, he said.
For three decades, Hong Kong has been the only place on Chinese-controlled soil where an annual mass vigil has been held to mark the events in and around Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
The clampdown remains one of the most tightly censored topics in mainland China, with discussions of it scrubbed from mass media. Chinese authorities have not released an official death toll, but estimates range
from several hundred to thousands.
After the 1997 handover, the continuation of the vigil and similar memorials were seen as a litmus test for Hong Kong’s ongoing autonomy and democratic freedoms, as promised in its de facto constitution.
However, in the wake of national security law, scores of prominent pro-democracy politicians and activists have been jailed or fled the city, and numerous civil society groups have disbanded.
Attempts to commemorate the events of June 4 have also been adversely impacted.
The last two Tiananmen vigils have been banned by police, citing coronavirus restrictions. Prominent activists, including Joshua Wong and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, were later jailed for participating in an unauthorized public commemoration in 2020.
A Hong Kong museum dedicated to the victims of June 4 was forced to close earlier this year and moved its entire collection online citing “political oppression.”
And on Friday, two more Tiananmen Square crackdown memorials were also removed from Hong Kong campuses.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong took down a “Goddess of Democracy” statue, stating it never authorized the display in the first place. The original figure was built out of papier-mâché by student protesters at Tiananmen Square in May 1989. A bronze replica was created by China-born New Zealand artist Chen Weiming and brought to the CUHK campus in 2010.
Lingnan University similarly removed a relief by the same artist, saying it “may pose legal and safety risks to the University community.”
Following news that the HKU “Pillar of Shame” sculpture was being dismantled, the artist Galschiøt wrote on his Twitter account, “I’m totally shocked that Hong Kong University is currently destroying the pillar of shame. It is completely unreasonable and a self-immolation against private property in Hong Kong.”
“We encourage everyone to go out to Hong Kong University and document everything that happens with the sculpture,” he added in a statement.
In its statement, HKU Council said, “No party has ever obtained any approval from the University to display the statue on campus, and the University has the right to take appropriate actions to handle it at any time.”
It added the university “is also very concerned about the potential safety issues resulting from the fragile statue. Latest legal advice given to the University cautioned that the continued display of the statue would pose legal risks to the University based on the Crimes Ordinance enacted under the Hong Kong colonial government.”
Efforts to preserve the memory of the sculpture are already underway, with art-activist group Lady Liberty Hong Kong creating a 3-D model made using more than 900 photos.
“The idea is that everyone can print a copy it and place it wherever they want,” said Alex Lee, the founder of the group. “In the digital age, there’s no limitation of what you can do with virtual or physical objects — (the hope is) for everyone to try to preserve this symbol.”
According to Lee, the statue represented something of the fundamental difference between Hong Kong and mainland China. “It (the statue) symbolized that Hong Kong still has room for the freedom of speech and it really means that Hong Kong is still a different part from China,” said Lee. “But then I think right now, that last really small space is gone.”
On Sunday, Hong Kong’s first “China patriots only” legislative election witnessed a record low turnout, reflecting a steep decline in civic and political engagement following Beijing’s overhaul of the city’s electoral processes earlier this year.
Following the vote, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam traveled to Beijing and met with Chinese Leader Xi Jinping, who endorsed her administration and praised her for moving the city “from chaos to order,” according to a government statement of the meeting.
Calling the election — in which turnout was just 30.2% — a “success” Xi said the city had “made solid progress in promoting democratic development that suits Hong Kong’s reality.”
“The democratic right of Hong Kong compatriots has been shown,” Xi said.
A number of Hong Kong activists who fled abroad labeled the election — in which prospective candidates were first screened by the government — as a “sham,” a criticism echoed by many rights groups and international observers.
Top image: Workers remove part of the “Pillar of Shame” into a container at the University of Hong Kong on December 23, 2021.

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Il Divo singer Carlos Marin dies aged 53

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bbc– Il Divo’s Carlos Marin has died aged 53, the classical group has announced.

Marin would be “missed by his friends, family and fans”, a statement on social media said. “There will never be another voice or spirit like Carlos.”

The group had said they were praying for Marin’s recovery after he was admitted to hospital this month leading them to postpone a UK Christmas tour.

The male quartet was brought together by Simon Cowell in 2003 and achieved three UK number one albums.

Marin was born in Germany, but moved to Spain at the age of 12 and was a baritone in the group, performing alongside tenors Urs Buhler and David Miller, and pop singer Sebastien Izambard.

“Singing is my way of saying what I feel, my way of life,” he is quoted as saying on the group’s website.

“Singing is what makes me feel alive, so thank you for letting me continue making a living from what I love.”

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Marin had been taken ill during the UK tour and placed into an induced coma at a hospital in Manchester. The nature of his illness has not been disclosed.

Il Divo’s international composition helped them achieve notable success across several worldwide tours.

Their hits included Regresa a Mi (Unbreak My Heart), The Time Of Our Lives, and I Believe In You – a duet with Celine Dion – as well as a version of Adele’s Hello.

They sold more than 30 million records, and had 160 gold and platinum discs across more than 33 countries, the group’s website said.

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