How Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade look to their children as a source of bravery and inspiration

By Zach Harper

Many children look up to their parents for inspiration and guidance, and children can also be an equally important source of both of those things, since little ones also teach their parents. Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade say they're inspired by their kids and how they see Zaya, 13, and Kaavia, 1, moving through the world.

The 47-year-old actress and 38-year-old former NBA All-Star are included in TIME magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020. They're on the list as Titans.

The couple shared their thoughts on parenting and the importance of letting their children guide them.

"We have a daughter who is almost two, who the world has seen is bound to nothing but whatever is in her heart and on her soul at the moment, and it's beautiful to watch truly free children," Gabrielle said in the clip on the TIME website.

She and Dwyane frequently take to Instagram to share heartwarming, adorable videos of Kaavia that are often also very funny. Their daughter's boundless enthusiasm for life and her total presence have captivated their followers – and endeared them to many more people, since it's quite obvious they're excellent parents. Kaavia is often pictured dancing, swimming and starting to explore the world – and always shows off her bubbly, happy personality.

Zaya, Dwyane's 13-year-old daughter, came out as transgender last year, and he and Gabrielle have fully embraced her journey. They have spoken numerous times not just to support her, but to praise her.

"We have another daughter who is 13, who has freedom to be exactly who she is, who she was born to be, to be her most authentic self," Gabrielle said of Zaya in the TIME video. "She doesn't ask permission to exist. That is wildly inspiring."

Zaya is Dwyane's daughter with ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches. He and Gabrielle co-parent Zaya. Dwyane and Siohvaughn also have a son together, Zaire. Dwyane is also father to six-year-old Xavier, his son with longtime friend Aja Metoyer. He has also been raising his nephew, Dahveon, since 2011.

"We're inspired by our kids," Dwyane added. "The way they look at us, the way they look to us for leadership and guidance, for their moments of bravery."

As part of TIME's list, Gabrielle and Dwyane were introduced in two moving pieces written by Me Too movement founder Tarana Burke and superstar John Legend, respectively.

In her piece, Tarana wrote that Gabrielle is rightly described as "influential" by many, but that "doesn't quite capture" her role in Hollywood, the media and as a parent.

"She is intentionally directing her attention, influence and resources to advance an agenda that deliberately celebrates the most marginalized among us, including Black women and girls and queer and trans folks," Tarana penned.

"Gab's commitment to authenticity is without compromise. Few people in her position are willing to admit when they are learning and growing, and to be transparent through that process like she does. And as a friend, I can attest to the fact that who she is in the public eye is who she is in private. It's that consistency that her fans and followers have come to not only just love and rely on, but also be influenced by."

John praised Dwyane for using his "social capital" to speak out in support of others, including his own children.

"Every kid is going to have their own individuality and their own interests and their own identity," John wrote. "He and Gabrielle don't love Zaya despite who she is. They love Zaya, and they celebrate who she is and they embrace her. He's modelling how parents can champion their kids, and fight for them, and help them become the best adult that they can be. I think that's really beautiful."

Gabrielle and Dwyane are just two of many Black stars included on this year's TIME 100 list, which also includes more women than ever before.

Megan Thee Stallion, Canada's The Weeknd, Michael B. Jordan, Jennifer Hudson, actress Michaela Coel, Tyler Perry, Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton, Billy Porter, and tennis champion Naomi Osaka are also featured in moving essays written by Taraji P. Henson, Elton John, Denzel Washington, Mary J. Blige, Lena Waithe, Oprah Winfrey, Bubba Wallace, Cyndi Lauper and Maya Moore, respectively.

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