Actress Gabrielle Union got real about the financial impact of COVID-19 on black celebs and influencers. During an Instagram Live chat with Angolan model Sharam-Sharam Dinz the star shared that many of these celebs are one or two cheques away from being broke.
Image: Gabrielle Union IG
When asked about some of her concerns during this time, Gabrielle revealed that she was shared in part; “For most, certainly Black entertainers, Black ‘celebrities,’ for all of the Oprahs and the people who have a lot, a lot, a lot of money, most of us are one or two checks away from not having money to pay for all of our things. So this stoppage of work and money is impacting marginalized celebrities the most. All those influencers you see who take all the trips, they’re in Dubai one week, they’re in London the next week and Paris the next week and they seem to be everywhere, they may not have a lot of liquid income. You can’t charge your rent, you have to pay your rent. If you don’t have the opportunity to do all the things you need to do to be the influencer, your money’s funny. And if your money’s funny, you don’t have much of anything.”
She continued; “I think a lot of people need to understand the difference between fame and having money. And I think this quarantine is really revealing a lot in terms of, there are a lot of people that are famous, but don’t have wealth. Having a lot of followers doesn’t equal having a lot of money. And there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to be suffering that you wouldn’t expect because they always give us perfection and aspirational living. That’s not the truth. A lot of people that you see in a photo that’s airbrushed or filtered or this, that and the other, and then you see in real life and you don’t recognize them, that’s really real. Everyone just needs to understand, this is a lot of smoke and mirrors. People who you think have a lot of stuff don’t have a lot of stuff, and people who you think their lives are perfect and they may have a ton of money, their family doesn’t talk to them or they don’t have any real friends. I don’t know anybody who has a life where I’m like, ‘Oooh, I want that.’ And there’s times I don’t want my own life because it’s hard. It’s isolating. It’s lonely and when you do have a problem, nobody wants to hear it. So it’s never what it looks like.”
Although Gabrielle has a few endorsement deals, a new children’s book on the way, a fashion line, and an upcoming season of L.A.’s Finest with Jessica Alba, she’s financially okay. She credits this to being smart about how she spends her money.
She said in part; “I’ve never lived beyond my means. I have squirreled away my money since my first job. I have never put out more than I bring in and I’ve always been fearful of, ‘This is going to be my last job for sure. For sure, I’m never going to work again.’ And if I have to basically create a life based on my education and my skill set, this is what I can afford. I have been living like that since I was 19. So I have a lot of savings. I have a little bit more wiggle room. But so many people, whatever they bring in, they don’t factor in taxes, they don’t factor in agency fees and attorneys, so somebody could hear, ‘So and so made a million dollars.’ That’s not a million dollars. You gotta half that because of taxes, now you’re looking at $500,000. Now you’ve got 10 percent agent, 10 percent manager, five percent lawyer, gotta pay your publicist.”
She also shared that the fancy clothes she wears aren’t hers. “All the super fancy clothes, anything that’s not from the Gabrielle Union Collection or New York & Company or sweats, I give it back. I wear it, I borrow it, get into it, and then they come for their stuff! I hang it right back up, I put it in the garment bag and I put it right back outside. The jewels, that’s not my stuff. Other than my wedding rings, I’m not a big jewelry person. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”
Gabrielle Union gets real about the financial impact of COVID-19 on black celebs and influencers. Take a look at the full chat.