By Lisa Durden
Let me set some of y’all Black folks all the way straight who feel like Mo’Nique needed to take the money and keep it moving. NO!! Hell to the Hell NO!! Yes, Lisa Durden would have grabbed that dough and ran. But my name ain’t Mo’Nique. Do you people realize that she is one of the most decorated comedians! She is one of the Queens of Comedy! No shade but let’s keep it real, whenever you think about the most successful woman comedian in the industry, the only name other than Whoopi Goldberg that comes to mind is Mo’Nique. Period! She was the lead actress in a hugely successful sitcom called “The Parkers” for five long years. Do you all realize what an accomplishment that is these days?? Just in case y’all have amnesia, in 2010, Mo’Nique won an Oscar at the 82nd Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for the box office smash “Precious”, which grossed over $47 million dollars domestically. Her awards game is sick; winning several NAACP Image Awards, a Critics Choice Award, a Golden Globe Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a BAFTA Award, an Independent Spirit Award, a National Society of Film Critics Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BET Award, a BET Comedy Award, an African-American Film Critics Association Award, and a Satellite Award, just to name a few. Mo’Nique is a living legend!!
And for you misinformed #MOTHERCLUCKERS who say, “What has Mo done lately??” Um, in May of 2017 she had a sold-out comedy show at the Apollo and in November 2016, she was the star of the low-budget smash hit movie “Almost Christmas”, that only cost $17 million dollars to make, but earned $42 million dollars domestically. Now when Netflix said Amy Schumer had a hit movie last summer, I’d like to know what movie they’re referring to. In May of 2017, only a short 6 months after Mo’Nique’s blockbuster film, Amy’s “so-called” hit movie “Snatched” was, in fact, a box office FLOP!! It cost a whopping $42 million dollars to make and it only grossed $46 million dollars domestically. So, when Netflix referred to that movie as their example for paying Amy more than Mo’Nique, they told on themselves!! It’s very clear that they offered Amy more not because she grosses more than Mo’Nique, but because she’s a white woman. So, YES, Mo’Nique deserved to get the same pay as Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle for her comedy special.
Black people who can fix their fingers to post or fix their mouth to say that Mo’Nique shouldn’t get equal pay for her comedy special leave me no choice but to think that you identify with the oppressor. That’s an unfortunate pathology that still exists in our community. I am soooo glad that my girl, comedian Wanda Sykes, stepped up on #Twitter to commend Mo’Nique for speaking out, saying that she was offended that Netflix offered her less than $500,000 and chose to take her business to Epix, where she would be appreciated. Good for Wanda.
Ooooo, I loved it when the outspoken Jada Pinkett-Smith joined the Mo’Nique Netflix debate. On #Twitter, in true Jada fashion, she set the haters all the way straight!! “You don’t have to like Mo’Nique’s approach. You don’t have to agree with her boycott, but don’t allow all of that to make you blind to the fact that nonwhite women and impoverished white women are underpaid, underrepresented and undervalued everywhere by everyone,” expressed Jayda. “As a community, we should be supporting the light she is shining on this truth.”
That’s the kind of sisterhood Black women must have if we are going to rise above the racial and gender pay gap. There is even exciting discussion around women telling each other what they make as a way to be aware of the pay disparities. I wholeheartedly agree with that movement.
Let me bottom line this for y’all. Everybody who is reading this article knows exactly what it feels like to be paid slave wages and asked to get over it, or to be glad to have a job, especially Black women. This is not just about Mo’Nique, Wanda Sykes, Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, Tracee Ellis-Ross or Gabrielle Union. Netflix is the smaller picture of the bigger picture to show how the pay gap is worse for Black women in all careers and jobs, and has been that way sense we entered the workforce. For every dollar a man makes, Black women make 63 cents. White women do face a pay gap as well, but they make 80 cents for every dollar that a man makes, which is substantially higher than African-American women. Simply put, Black women are often significantly underrepresented in leadership roles and positions of power to be able to make crucial decisions about hiring practices and who gets paid what. Therefore, I suggest that all of you negative Nelly’s root for women like the Mo’Niques of the world who ain’t “scurd” to push the pay envelop; she is the queen of #BlackGirlMagic, please “put some ‘respect’ on it”! When we start “making money moves” as Cardi B says, “Black Women Equal Pay Day” won’t just be a date on our calendars every July 31st, but Black women will one day hold the power positions needed to hire women; hence, helping to close the pay gap.
Lisa Durden, TV personality and subject matter expert in the areas of pop culture, politics and social issues, who’s an “A-Plus Panel” Contributor at My9’s “Chasing News”. She also makes appearances on Dr. Oz, Pix11 Morning News, CT Style & Fox News Channel. Lisa’s voice is her activism! Twitter: @lisardurden