Actress Gabrielle Union was reportedly axed from the hit weekly show “America’s Got Talent” amid a culture of toxicity that included repeated warnings that her hair was “too black” for the show’s audience.
Union, the star of “L.A.’s Finest,” was let go along with Julianne Hough after their first seasons, even though both women had much higher social media interactions than comedian Howie Mandell, who is a longtime judge on the show.
AGT producers never provided a comprehensive answer to why Union and Hough were not retained for a second season. Even Union’s husband, NBA legend Dwyane Wade, wondered aloud as to what could have precipitated the unceremonious ouster:
So when i got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!? Iam still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 27, 2019
According to Variety, producers gave both women multiple notes throughout the season admonishing them on their appearance. Union was subjected to particular scrutiny, as she was told “over a dozen times” by hairstylists that her ever-evolving hairstyles were “too Black” for AGT’s audiences.
Union’s umbrage with comic legend Jay Leno’s joke about Koreans eating dogs may have been the last straw.
Despite Union’s contentious experience on the show, Hough said her time of the show was pleasant, even though she was let go after her inaugural season.
“I had a wonderful time on ‘America’s Got Talent.’ I loved working with the cast, crew and producers,” Hough said, according to Variety.
After being flattened emotionally from the ‘AGT’ episode, Union was extremely grateful for her fans for picking her up when she was down:
So many tears, so much gratitude. THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever ❤
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) November 28, 2019