Ashley Graham Says Her Family Was Racist Toward Her Black Husband
Ashley Graham has made a name for herself as the face of thickness in the modeling world, and has maintained her marriage to hubby Justin Ervin in the process for the last 7 years. But Ashley says the road was a little bumpy for her and her Black husband in the early days, particularly when it comes to her white, midwestern family.
As Ashley told Glamour Magazine, she naively thought that her family members, most of whom had never even interacted with real live Black people would somehow be just as accepting and nonchalant about her husband’s race as she was.
Obviously…she was dead wrong. She found this out the hard way when she sprung a Black boyfriend on them without even so much as mentioning it first.
I brought Justin home to Nebraska. Now, I should probably mention that Justin is black, and that I didn’t grow up around many black people. The sum total of what I learned about African American culture in school was Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and the Underground Railroad. This was more than my mom knew; she didn’t even see a black person in real life until she was 18 years old.
I never told Justin any of this, and I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was black. 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.”
I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock.
But Ashley says it was the caring way in which her now-husband Justin responded to that “Get Out” situation that solidified for her that he was the one. He mentioned that he was “disappointed,” though not at all shocked by her family’s racist behavior…noting that her grandma probably only knew about Black men through BS she had seen on TV. When Ashley’s grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary came around, he called to congratulate them. Her grandma, in particular, has “loved him” ever since.
Awww. All’s well that ends well…right?