An interview from 2017 resurfaced of actress Gabrielle Union speaking about her experience working on the set of Friends. The main cast of the sitcom Friends reunited on May 27 to reminisce about their time filming the series, and the bond they formed over the years while talking about what made the show a pop culture classic to many fans across the world.
Though the reunion special stirred the pot for unfamiliar Black fans, who may have been too busy watching Living Single to know of the show’s relevance. It brought up some old issues with the show’s lack of representation and diversity.
The creators of Friends say they never intended on having an all-white cast, Union believes that’s a load of crap. The actress speaks candidly during an interview with long-time broadcaster and journalist, Tracey Matisak, in an interview recorded October 19, 2017. Gabrielle’s experiences on set are vastly different from what co-creator Marta Kauffman mentioned about not intending to have only White cast members.
Union shares more about her experiences on set in her 2017 book, We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True. She talks about how Hollywood executives would treat her as a rookie in the business despite already having established herself as an actress years before.
“That dual consciousness though is what prepares me to then do an episode of Friends after being on City of Angels,” she said in the interview. “When they’re like, ‘Nikki or Gabby, do you know what a mark is?’ Yeah, I’m an actor. Didn’t have to audition for this job, because I was just on a hit show on CBS.”
Fans react on Twitter comparing Union’s experiences on the set of Friends to how they felt after watching the show and noticing the blatant racism and stereotypes displayed within the series. One Twitter user speaks writes about how she noticed one scene where Joey and Ross were both fighting over Union’s character, then had a similar situation, instead fighting over a monkey.
It’s the audacity for us! We shouldn’t have to ask but if it came down to it, which show are you choosing: Living Single or Friends?
Watch the full interview with Gabrielle Union below.