Sophia Bush: A Wedding Can Be Activism

That’s why she got married in Oklahoma

US actress Sophia Bush arrives for the White House Correspondents Association gala at the Washington...
I Do (Care About Justice)

The Vogue weddings column is often a space where some of the most insane women you’ve ever heard of talk about how it was so special to get married at their family’s castle in the English countryside. That’s what makes it fun. It’s nice to dream about how wonderful it would be to plan a wedding when money is no object.

But Sophia Bush is not like other girls. Her Vogue wedding is about social justice, racial inequality, and wearing a stupid hat to your “elevated cowboy” themed dinner the night before the big day. When she noticed how much attention her engagement to real estate investor Grant Hughes got when it was first announced, the One Tree Hill star said her “activist brain turned on.” I’m just going to show you her full quote:

“Global attention is a hell of a platform, and as someone who doesn’t love attention but does love collective activism, I knew that this could be an incredible moment to spin the privilege of attention. And so I looked at Grant and said, ‘Honey. I think we should get married in Tulsa.’ He blinked. ‘Oklahoma?’ he asked. ‘Yup. Imagine what we could do if we turned our wedding into an event to showcase Tulsa: the Greenwood leaders we work with. The cultural renaissance happening there. Tech. Philanthropy. Civil rights justice. The art. The leadership. We could focus all of this attention and turn the spotlight on them.’”

Alright then, sure.

Hughes is from Oklahoma, and the two spent a lot of time in Tulsa during the pandemic, so I guess it made sense for them. Tulsa was also, of course, the site of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, in which a white mob burned down what was known as Black Wall Street, one of the few enclaves of Black wealth in the country at the time. What is a better way to celebrate the love of two white people than by spending the weekend learning about that?

Guests went on a walking tour of historic Greenwood — the Black neighborhood destroyed in 1921 — that included talks from community leaders, a prayer, and stops by Black-owned businesses. On the day of the actual wedding, there was a reading from activist Brittany Packett Cunningham from a piece of hers about the John Lewis flag that the couple had reinstalled at the Philbrook Museum of Art for their nuptials.

You might think that a couple so devoted to racial justice would have a lot of Black friends. The pictures tell a different story. Most of the attendees were white, but Bush and the Vogue editors made sure that there was at least one beautiful portrait of Skye P. Marshall, one of Bush’s “best friends and coworkers.”

But all in all, congrats to the happy couple! And a question for readers: Do you think Aaron and Lauren Paul went on the walking tour and if so, were they moved by it?