According to Variety, Union spoke out during a female empowerment and inclusivity panel in Soho, Manhattan. The title of the panel was the Power of Inclusivity and the Women Leading the Charge
The report states Union never directly said NBC but people in the crowd knew she was referencing her firing from “America’s Got Talent.”
She gave advice to the crowd about being a leader at work, “Don’t be the happy negro that does the bidding of the status quo because you’re afraid. Don’t allow them to call you angry when someone else is called passionate. It’s terrifying. There’s a solid chance you’ll lose your job … I speak from experience.”
Union added, “Do your best because corporations want global dollars. Do your best to try to hold the door open and hold people responsible. Yeah, I’m asking you to do the impossible … I’m fully aware that job loss is on the table … but if you’re not doing it, nobody is. How many checks do I need? This financial freedom, they’re shackles, masquerading as zeros in my bank account.”
The actress said, “There are a lot of people who are only interested in filling their own plate. I can’t enjoy my food if everyone else is starving.”
She got real about the issues she experienced before speaking up. She said, “Eventually, I couldn’t sleep. I knew I obsessed about every single time in my life where I didn’t say anything. And it got to the point where I was like, ‘That’s not right!’ And every time I chose to speak up and the world didn’t end and I could speak a little bit better, I knew I was doing the right thing. It just made it so much easier.”
She continued, “When you’re a follower, often you’re not being led by the right person,” This is not what paradise or salvation looks like to me. You’re using me to prop up fraudulent systems … I want no part of that, so I’d rather lead, even if I don’t know where the hell I’m going … As long as I have air in my lungs, I will always try to cover us all and I will certainly try to center the needs of the most marginalized.”
Union has yet to official talk about the “America’s Got Talent” firing and situation. NBC has launched an investigation after meeting with Union.