Film Independent recently hosted the 38th annual Spirit Awards, its largest annual celebration amplifying the unique, diverse, and original voices and visions of independent storytellers.
Guests gathered under a majestic tent on Santa Monica Pier donning an array of eclectic styles from ball gowns, colorful sequins, bold feathers and comfy sneakers to salute the independent films and filmmakers that are too often overshadowed by big-budget Hollywood blockbusters. Quinta Brunson, Taylour Paige, Effie T. Brown, Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Kamillion of Issa Rae’s HBO comedy, Rap Sh*t, and Spirit Award nominee Gabrielle Union were all in attendance.
“[My role in this film] literally changed my life. It forced me to examine some of the darker parts of my psyche that I, you know, I had thought I dealt with. So it changed me as a human being. It changed me as a woman, as a mother and certainly changed my career. It showed me I could do it and it showed the world I could do it,” Union told Her Agenda, describing her performance in independent film, “The Inspection.”
Union is one of many women the Spirit Awards highlighted this year. In fact, for the first time in Spirit Awards history, acting categories were gender neutral, with the former separate lead and supporting actor and actress categories being replaced by the ten-nominee Best Lead and Best Supporting Performance awards. At this year’s show, women dominated these categories with Ayo Edibiri winning Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series for FX’s The Bear, Quinta Brunson for Best Lead Performance in a New Scripted Series for Abbott Elementary, and Michelle Yeoh Best Lead Performance for “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
Watch more of Gabrielle Union’s interview along with other Spirit Awards highlights from the red carpet in our video above.