By Gabriella Opara
Gabrielle Union’s memoir is the most refreshing book I have read in a long time, almost a year after it got published. The tone and perspective of the book is quite different from books I’ve read this year; the closest I’ve come to liking the kind of I-don’t-care-what-you-think-about-me approach that Union used in her book is Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fu*k. Unlike Manson’s self-help book, however, Gabrielle proves with We’re Going To Need More Wine that she doesn’t need Manson’s tutorials because she already doesn’t give a fu*k what people think of her.
In this autobiography Gabrielle addressed a lot of societal issues, from the backwardness of racism to the societal expectations of a girl child; the trauma of being a rape victim (turned survivor), to the demands of being a celebrity. She was able to convey that, unlike what most people believe, she is just an ordinary folk with the same fear for her kids’ safety like any other mother. She gave us a glimpse into what it is like living as a black woman in a merciless world of high expectations, low mentoring rates, and zero forgiveness.
We’re Going To Need More Wine has a casual vibe and tone to it, right from the start you get a feeling that you really are talking with a friend over wine and having a PG-rated conversation with your best gal after the kids have gone to bed. That woman is whom you will find yourself speaking with in the book, sharing ideas as she takes you through a journey of her childhood, giving you the giddy feeling of having your mentor share experiences from their novice days.
Despite this deceptively casual approach you will find yourself fast contemplating the often tip-toed conversation surrounding the issue of racism, being black and being a woman (particularly in Hollywood). For the first time, it seems, we get a glimpse of how Gabrielle really views the world of movies when she mentions the unfair treatment she got as a guest star on the set of Friends and the patronizing manner at which the director addressed her despite the few accolades under her belt at the time. She awakens us to the fear each aging star gets when faced with the new face of Hollywood and the insecurity felt by these folks, leading to a problem of snobbery and difficult bosses. She also explores the role of being a divorcee, a wife (in a second marriage) and the expectations of being a stepmother; giving little pieces of advice here and there, the best way she knows how.
One part of the book that resonated with me was the chapter titled Code 261. Just as Gabrielle Union said, “Rape is the most under-reported crime there is and it’s shrouded in secrecy and shame.”
I am sure there are many rape victims who can relate to this statement, many of whom have kept mute about the traumatic incident mostly due to the fear of ridicule. One of the damages done to our society is the “look the other way” syndrome; we will rather frown mutely at misdoings than speak against it and put our condemnation into actions. If not, why is rape and child sexual abuse ever increasing? In every one report we hear of, there are millions of hushed mouths behind closed doors.
Before I get carried away by Code 261, I should state that, despite the splurge of vulgar words you will find in We’re Going To Need More Wine one must not overlook the many issues explored in it, issues that should get us talking, asking the right questions and making a move to right the wrong things.
So as not to get carried away again, I will conclude here but with a bit of advice for you; get wine before picking up this book because you’ll find that at the end, you are indeed, gonna need more wine!
Gabriella Opara is a student and freelance content writer based in Lagos. She is passionate about creativity and self-development, moonlighting as a poet and amateur artist by night.
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @glamogen