Photo: Gabrielle Union (left) and Dwyane Wade (right)
Photo Credit: Charlé Moore
There were an estimated 850 guests including many women luminaries and actresses attending the 2016 Step Up Women Network Inspiration Awards that honored Gabrielle Union and Lea Michele, on May 20, 2016, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
Both actresses had their friends present them their honors. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler presented Michele with her award, and actress Essence Atkins gave Union her award.
“We’re not here to honor Gabrielle’s body of work, though it’s impressive and extensive in its longevity. We are here to honor my dear friend’s heart.” Atkins told the crowd after sharing her friend’s body of work.
Then Atkins shifted her speech’s direction towards the many causes that Step Up was honoring Union for—her involvement (with Step Up Women Network) and support (of young women) during her twenty years of being a public figure.
“Allow us this moment for a recompense of your dedication to inspiring women and young girls to know that the best is possible if you know and believe in your worth,” Atkins told her dear friend before asking her to join onstage.
Union was quite euphoric to share this moment with her NBA superstar husband, Dwyane Wade.
Wade expressed to LAEntNews about how Union is an inspiration to him.
“She is the woman of the house. So having a wife that loves sports makes it easier and is inspiring.”
Other celebrity friends and actresses that came to support the 2016 Step Up Awards were Adina Porter, Gabrielle Dennis, Danielle Nicolet, and Garcelle Beauvais, who also held the duty of co-emceeing the program.
“I am worthy by birthright. I am fierce and fabulous, because I breathe,” Gabrielle shared with the crowd.
Then she “cheered” on the group of majority women and girls in the crowd, “We are worthy. We are valid. Our journeys are real and worthwhile.”
Union concluded her “thank you” speech inspired by Step Up’s “I Am” campaign promoted throughout the program, and reaffirmed her authentic self,
“I am Gabrielle Union Wade.”