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As a Black mom, Gabrielle Union wants people to 'centre the needs' of melanated kids

The actress shares her four-year-old daughter, Kaavia, with former NBA star Dwyane Wade.

Gabrielle Union is getting candid about what it's like being a Black mother. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Gabrielle Union is getting candid about what it's like being a Black mother. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Gabrielle Union is sharing some tips for new mothers.

While applying a sheet mask after a long weekend, the 50-year-old actress opened up about some of the struggles she faced a Black mom in a video posted on Tuesday. In the Instagram Reel, the "Strange World" star shared that she wishes people would "centre the needs" of darker-skinned babies, since she went into parenthood blindly.

"I wish I knew, before becoming a mom, so many things," she began saying in her video. "I wish I knew that Black and brown kids have different skin care needs. Diaper rash looks a lot different on children of colour than it does on kids without melanin."

Union, who shares daughter Kaavia, 4, with former NBA star Dwyane Wade, 41, explained that she was scared her kid was "dying" the first time she saw her diaper rash.

"When you look at a lot of the studies, most of those studies are done with groups of babies that are white," Union continued. "So when you see something that is deemed, 'The best for all kids,' it's not for all kids. It's kids that don't have the same amount of melanin [as Black and brown kids]."

The "Bring It On" actress also noted that many daycares she's encountered requires parents to bring at least seven diapers, adding that they're not cheap and money plays a "huge role" in accessibility for families.

"I didn't know any of this stuff either and I'm learning as I go," she shared. "But also, do your own research. ... What it really comes down to is how we're teaching folks. But, if you were to centre the needs of melanated babies and melanated people, everyone is covered — centre us!

"I didn't know any of this until I had Kav. If you're like me, a little clueless, do your own research but make sure that you are centreing the needs of your melanated child."

Union (right), shares daughter Kaavia with her husband, Dwyane Wade. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
Union (right), shares daughter Kaavia with her husband, Dwyane Wade. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

People in the comments resonated with Union's message, with many people sharing their own experiences of raising Black and brown children.

"Love this‼️ Also, lots of us have eczema and parents just don't know the proper regimen for care. Not to mention the lack of melanin-specific dermatologists," one fan shared.

"Definitely! I had to ask a Black dermatologist for sunscreen recommendations because all the 'kid' sunscreens were showing up ashy white on my brown baby's skin. And then could only find it online. Glad there are more options now than 12 years ago," penned another.

"The same is true for adults, too. Yeast infections aren't always that beefy red, friends. This is so important to talk about. Thanks for normalizing the conversation," one person raved.

"Normalize these types of conversations," someone chimed in. "Just speaking truth!"

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