Model Ashley Graham is getting real about interracial relationships, recently sharing how her family was less-than-accepting when she introduced them to her African-American boyfriend-now-husband, Justin Ervin.
In Glamour-obtained excerpts taken from her upcoming memoir, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, the body-positive beauty reveals that when she first introduced her man to her Nebraskan family, Grandma Graham refused to even acknowledge the man she fell head-over-heels for.
“I never told Justin any of this, and I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was black,” wrote Ashley. “I naively hoped everyone would be color-blind—which is not what happened. When my grandparents met Justin, my grandmother was cordial but cold.”
“She greeted him and immediately walked away. When it came time for them to leave, my grandparents didn’t even acknowledge him. Instead, my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, ‘Tell that guy I said goodbye.’”
She went on, “I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist,” wrote Ashley. I was in shock. After they left, I took Justin on a ride to get out of the house. I’ll never forget what he said as we drove around town: ‘Racism is never surprising but always disappointing.’
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Ervin assured the 5’9” stunner that her grandmother’s reaction was a result of negative images and stereotypes played out in the media.
“She had probably never looked a black man in the face, let alone had a conversation with him, and now one was in her daughter’s home, dating her granddaughter.”
Over time, the family warmed up to Ervin, but plenty of fans online are now calling out Graham for putting her spouse in that position by not warning them of his race ahead of time.
I think it’s cruel to bring someone home without telling your family their race. There’s a reason she didn’t mention it or show pics of them and it’s because she knew they were racist. So then she leaves it for him to deal with face to face. Rude.
— Kelly (@heynursekelly) December 3, 2017
Ashley Graham taking her black boyfriend to meet her racist family pic.twitter.com/yLhlg43fn6
— rosechocglam (@rosechocglam) December 3, 2017
That Ashley Graham thing is annoying. Does she want a Nobel Peace Prize for conducting a social experiment at the expense of her black partner?
— XXXTensions (@eleven8) December 3, 2017
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.