“Who’s Stacey Dash?”
That’s the question actress Gabrielle Union asked an Associated Press reporter this week, following the Sundance Film Festival premiere of The Birth of a Nation, in which Union has a supporting role.
“Is she like related to Dame Dash? Was she on Roc-A-Fella?” Union joked. “I heard of a crazy lady once, but I don’t know what her name is.”
Union was asked about Dash’s recent comments on the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars and the outcry from celebrities like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, neither of whom will attend the ceremony. “I think it’s ludicrous because we have to make up our minds,” Dash said on Fox News last week. “Either we want to have segregation or integration, and if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we’d be up in arms. It’s a double standard.” The former Clueless star added “there shouldn’t be a Black History Month. We’re Americans, period. That’s it.”
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Dash was slammed for her remarks, including by BET, and she recently wrote a blog post to defend her position of abolishing Black History Month. “And the reason America is the best country in the world is because our national identity isn’t based on race, religion, or class. It’s based on principles like all men and women being created equal and everyone having the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Dash wrote.
Speaking this week, Union countered Dash’s initial remarks. “If you don’t see yourself reflected in mainstream awards, you tend to create your own,” she said. “Until there is no longer a need for that, I celebrate the ALMAs [American Latino Media Arts Awards], the same way I celebrate the Country Music Awards, and the same way I celebrate the BET Awards and the Image Awards, which we’ll all be at in a couple of weeks. The more that we focus on inclusion and a true representation of this country, I think that crazy lady will have less to say.”
Union was at Sundance this week to promote The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker’s drama about the famed slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in 1831. The film was purchased by Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million and is expected to arrive in theaters this year.