ESSENCE honored the incredible Gabrielle Union with the Fierce & Fearless award at our annual Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon six years ago. It was the year 2013 when Union stood up and made a speech that not only went viral, but changed everything for her, she recently admitted.

During an intimate brunch co-hosted by New York & Co. and Fashion To Figure, Union revealed that ESSENCE’s annual luncheon was an opportunity for her to share her truth in a room of her peers.

“I led in that room with the absolute truth and it freed me in a way that I have never been freed before,” she said on Monday during the brunch.

Inside ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, Union served up the type of brutal honesty everyone was craving, but up until that point, was rarely experienced. She gained everyone’s attention from the start of the speech: “We live in a town that rewards pretending, and I had been pretending to be fierce and fearless for a very long time.”

“I used to shrink in the presence of other dope, beautiful women. I used to revel in gossip and rumors and I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone’s shine who I felt diminished my own,” Union continued.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 21: Actress Gabrielle Union attends the 6th annual ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood awards luncheon at Beverly Hills Hotel on February 21, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Union’s speech opened up productive dialogue about Black women in Hollywood and she continues to use her platform as a means to speak truth to power.

Check out the video above to see Union further explain why living her truth changed her life.

TOPICS: