Among the infinite amount of mindless quarantine-based entertainment, a video involving Gabrielle Union shines a light on a growing problem in the African-American community. In an Instagram Live double date session, Union (current wife of former NBA player Dwyane Wade and ex-wife of former NFL player Chris Howard) admitted that years ago she advised husband and wife Stephen and Ayesha Curry to “break up now and have sex with other people”. Although the advice was ignored by the Currys, it will not be by young African-American girls who have become acolytes of celebrity culture.
Gabrielle Union is a statistical anomaly. She was able to date multiple professional athletes, who account for less than 5% of the United States male population and eventually married one. Furthermore, she went on to remarry a Hall of Fame-worthy pro athlete (remarriage rates have dropped 40% in the last 20 years; rates for remarriage are lower for African-American women) at the age of 41 (even more statistically improbable). Union’s dating life is, by far, the exception and not the rule.
Union and Dwyane Wade reportedly started dating when she was 35 years old. Her SMV (sexual market value) was already rather low, considering her age, once divorced, admitted “thottish” behavior in prior years, and fertility issues. Their daughter, Kaavia, had to be conceived through a surrogate mother. The former America's Got Talent judge still had some SMV considering her appearance and finances, but Dwayne Wade could have most definitely found a younger woman, with similar stature and money that could have conceived their own child. Gabrielle Union definitively defied the odds.
This makes her explicit advice to the Currys, and implicit advice to her legions of female fans, that much more damaging. Gabrielle Union was able to marry into a situation most women could not even dream of. This will not happen for most women. Many women, with significantly more SMV than Gabrielle Union, will eventually settle for a more realistic set of circumstances. She is subtlely selling young girls on the idea of sleeping around early, in hopes of finding a beautiful marriage utopia later. The reality for many women who sleep around is that they are given the “ho” label which, for better or oftentimes worse, sticks with them. Keep in mind, the stigma and labels are worse for an African-American woman. If/when they meet a guy of high status, he will be able to see through the facade of makeup and tight clothes and pick up on clues of her past. The high-status male will have his fun and quickly move on.
Even worse, Union tried to discourage the unity of a black couple. The African-American family has been deteriorating for generations. In fact, only about 33% of African-American children live with both of their biological parents. (70% for non-Hispanic white children, 59% for Hispanic children.) Furthermore, rates of interracial dating have been on the incline. There should more encouragement of the black familial structure.
While many people’s hearts are melting at the love story of Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, it is important to note that their story is not typical and highly improbable.