Gabrielle Union Said She Made a Huge "Mistake" With Her Bring It On Character
"I failed Isis."
More than two decades after the release of Bring It On — and its subsequent cult-favorite status — Gabrielle Union opened up about her role as Isis and how, if she could go back and do it all over again, the character would have changed.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Union explained that she was given full control of how to portray Isis, but during filming, she felt like she didn't allow herself to be as angry as she would now. She went so far as to say that "muzzled" Isis, because "Black girls aren't allowed to be angry."
"I was given full range to do whatever I wanted with Isis in Bring It On, and I chose respectability and to be classy and take the high road because I felt like that would make her be appropriate the right kind of Black girl," she said. "Black girls aren't allowed to be angry. Certainly not demonstratively angry and I muzzled her."
"I realized that I need to come to grips and acknowledge where I failed Isis," she continued. "When given full control, I made her 'appropriate.'"
When the Good Morning America hosts asked Union what she would have done instead, she added that she wouldn't hold back and give Isis a full range of emotion and humanity instead of concerning herself with what was "appropriate" for a Black character, because it's natural — and real — to react with rage when they feel threatened.
"Oh, read the Toros for filth," she said. "I would have been like, 'Yeah, when you had to do your own work it wasn't enough. You came in second. Take that L. I would've allowed her to be angry. I would have allowed her her full humanity. Part of being a full human is the ability to express rage when harmed."
In response to recent memes that joke with the idea that Isis being the real villain of the movie, Union brushed off the critics, saying that she did what she had to in order to make the character "gracious" — and if that's seen as villainous, there's nothing she can do now.
"I made her gracious, this decent kind leader, and I was still a villain in that movie for making her want accountability for the theft of their work product and the cultural appropriation," she said. "I did all that shape-shifting for a character not even realizing I was doing that to myself, too. I wasn't allowing myself the full range of my humanity."