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I ran into Gabrielle Union at a party in Cancun and we drew questioning glances when she said to me, “Last time I saw you we were wearing a lot less clothes.” She was referring to two weeks ago when we were both bikini-clad poolside in Puerto Rico.
Gabrielle didn’t have a film screening at The Cancun International Film Festival this year but her acceptance speech for The International Humanitarian Award she received at the awards gala was among the festival’s most memorable moments.
In the speech Gabrielle referenced a brutal rape at 19 that led the gorgeous now 35-year-old actress to become an activist for women’s rights, but the peppering of pop culture references kept the speech gripping and inspiring while still entertaining.
The most disappointing part of the speech was the beginning when she said “”I got sick and tired of the same question, ‘Who’s a better kisser, LL Cool J or Will Smith?” because she gave the PC response that “It’s a tie,” but even the mention of Will Smith’s name captured the crowd’s attention.
Gabrielle went on to weave more headline stealing celebrity names into anecdotes trying to make a bigger point and encourage the audience to make a difference. She said, “Stop caring about Britney Spears, she don’t care about you, start caring about yourself! Pick your passion, and I don’t mean skinny jeans versus flair but something that actually means something.” Even if you can’t afford a large donation to a big charitable cause, Gabrielle said that sometimes making a change in people’s lives is as simple as “a kind word to a stranger.”
Gabrielle next big film is “Starship Dave” with Eddie Murphy that was actually filmed on my block the same time my friends and I were filming our short “The Shmecret.” Armed with props, a handheld camcorder and yelling ‘Action,’ to our amusement gawkers on my street that day thought we were part of the blockbuster being simultaneously filmed a few feet away. “Starship Dave is slated for release May 2008. “The Shmecret” can currently be seen at http://www.myspace.com/theshmecret or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw35ix0aLE8.

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