The Bar Still Loves Mo'Nique

Anyone who's been following this blog (in its various incarnations) knows how much I love actress and comedienne Mo'Nique.  I find her brand of comedy refreshing, I love her style, her swag, her trademark giggle...I watch her movies, her stand-up, I've seen her perform live, and I love, love, love the ever-living hell out of this woman.  Because I get her.

She's back in the headlines, this time asking Black people to boycott Netflix due to pay discrepancies caused by race and gender.  Will I be boycotting Netflix?  No.  Does her presentation and framing of the problem need some tweaking?  Yes.  Does her husband need to be subtracted from her publicity equation and replaced with a real team?  Hells, yes. Should we be focusing on the fact that she's right about Black women in Hollywood being lowballed?  Of course.  Are Black people doing that tho?  Of course not.

We heard "boycott Netflix" and nothing else.

Thankfully, the Very Smart Brothas stay living up to their name; writer Panama Jackson points out that instead of focusing on the fact that Mo'Nique is right, people are going on and on about how much they don't like her.
In a world like comedy, pay is way more subjective than a simple one-to-one comparison of analysts at Booz Allen Hamilton. The thing is, the only way to make sure that companies ARE held to the fire is to put those things out there publicly. Mo’Nique could have taken her loss and kept it moving. But she saw an injustice and spoke up about it. And what happened?

Apparently, Mo’Nique is the wrong person to speak on it. Other comedians have come out mocking her. She’s been dragged for thinking she’s “worth” more than $500,000. How dare this black woman think she’s got the right to ask for more?

The tone and tenor of most of the conversations seem to hover soundly on the fact that people don’t like her that much. Maybe she’s burned bridges or talked too much shit about folks. Yes, she’s feuded with Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry and Oprah. Perhaps she was notoriously hard to work with. Does that mean that she’s wrong? No. Is it possible that Netflix is intentionally lowballing their black women comedians? Yes.

Shit, do you care? It seems like while most of us are on the Colin Kaepernick-speaking-on-social-injustice bandwagon—at least until the playoffs started—Mo’Nique asking for fair treatment in wages is a bridge too far. If you don’t like her, she’s full of shit. And that’s trash. We can’t let personal feelings, especially for somebody most of us don’t actually know, get in the way of a real problem that exists and negatively impacts our community.
Gabrielle Union - whom I'm assuming is more palatable to the Black masses - has basically been saying much of what Mo'Nique is saying.  Remember her feature on The Root?

Mo'Nique is still making videos about the Netflix and each one is more illuminating than the last.  In her most recent video, she pointed out that Amy Oh-So-Basic Schumer's 2017 movie Snatched cost $42 million to make, and raked in a paltry $3 million profit.  Meanwhile, the 2016 Black star-studded Almost Christmas (of which Mo'Nique was a part), made a $25 million profit off a budget of $17 million.  So for anyone who's ever wondered how White-centric flops are continually funded, along with how White actors/comedians manage to stay rich while actors of color stay struggling, this is how it's done.

To give you a bit more perspective, tickets for Black Panther are currently selling left and right.  The movie's already broken records and will very likely break more.  I suspect it will rake in a ridiculous amount of money, hundreds of millions (if not at least a billion).  So let's all stop and think about how a huge chunk of those profits will not go to enrich the Black star-studded cast, but instead to fund mediocre flops whose White actors will receive the kind of salaries POC are constantly told we're not worth and don't deserve.

And don't bother reminding me that Shonda Rhimes recently received $100 million to develop original material from Netflix.  Rhimes is not a comedian.  She's not in front of the camera.  She's a creator.  She created Grey's Anatomy, which has been running since 2005 and from which Disney raked $2 billion.  When Rhimes realized she hadn't made any billion dollars from any one of her several successful shows, she moved to Netflix.

Again let's put this in perspective - Shonda Rhimes inked a deal for $100 million.  For a creator of her caliber, that number not only strikes me as low, but let's say someone like Joss Whedon were to ink a deal with we really believe that's all he'd get paid?

These are the things we need to be focusing on rather than looking for creative ways to roast Mo'Nique.  She is voicing what several other Black artists have said for years, but in her typical style, she's being louder, more relentless, and completely unapologetic.

Lastly, children, respect your goddamn elders. Stop saying Mo'Nique's not funny or not relevant or how you rolled your eyes when she did I Coulda Been Your Cellmate and the accompanying documentary Behind Bars. That was some real shit. That was some potent shit. Her choice to entertain and interview imprisoned women cemented her as an MVP in my heart forever.  I was immediately reminded of when I saw her perform live in West Virginia, and she was telling some sistas who were about to be deployed to never fight for a country that would never fight for us.


  1. Forgive me for this but this is a little off subject but I love VSB and I love Panama Jackson's work, especially, the one he wrote about his broken relationship over his White mother. Wow! I just can't believe any logical mother would put 45 over their own kid..Unbelievable!

    Now back to Monique. some people may think Monique sucks or don't like her as a person. Its their right to their opinion but it should not get in their way of telling the truth about racism and pay in Hollywood,like she discussed. I don't have any problem with Monique's comedy and she's right.She deserves more than the 500,000 Nexflix proposed to her. She's an entertainment vet and she won an Oscar. She's been far more established than Amy Schumer ( she's so lame) yet its Amy that is reaping all of the benefits.Wanda Sykes said that compared to Monique,she was a multimillionaire. She said that she was proposed 100,000 dollars.

    It doesn't matter how much people may like/ dislike Monique, the lady is more than right to say her worth. Hollywood will never be kind to minorities. If you put the least funniest White woman with the least funniest Black woman,that White woman will still be made famous .The Black one won't. Half of these comediennes that are out suck terribly, but they're not Black.

    Though they don't have to like the person, her critics need to learn how to separate their feelings from business. That kind of thinking will give White society more permission to discriminate against a Black comedians/ actors worth.

    1. @M-I get what you are saying, but as you said people need to separate their feelings from business. I bet Netflix approached Amy Schumer. Which means they had a budget set up for her show. Monique approached Netflix about a show she was developing. Which means there was no budget set up for it. Its the same if I went to your company looking for a job and they didn't have money for a position. I am not going to get hired. Monique had options though so why didn't she take them?

      Do I think she is discriminated against? Yes. Because she is a black WOMAN! Chappelle and Rock got $20 million. Wanda Sykes was low-balled also. You can't put this solely on discrimination because just like Wanda (who took her show to another network and got paid), Monique could have went to another network. What stopped her? Besides taking advice from her husband. Why didn't she take the show to Centric? A network geared towards black women? Wouldn't it be sweet revenge to wave your hit show in the'face of the network that turned you down?

      Plus, black actresses need to start tweaking their contracts. Every time they are nominated then they get a $100k raise. If they win then their pay goes up $200k. People complain about Viola Davis winning an Emmy, but not getting the pay to match. They forget that she probably signed a contract for five years (I am guessing) for HTGAWM and it was before the win. Well her salary ($250k per episode) is locked in for the next five years until its time to renew that contract and she can bargain.

  2. I had not heard of this until catching wind of it on a morning radio show. I don't do Netflix. My question is what exactly will boycotting Netflix do? Netflix had over 117 million viewers (according to Statista) at the end of 2017. I could not find out how much of that accounted for black viewership. My question is if they boycott will it make a difference? What is the end game? Plus one outlet (MTOnews) says an unnamed source (is there any other kind) stating she was offered $3 million up front IF she auditioned. The person also stated because Monique came to them, it was not in the budget to offer more. Which makes sense. If the company approached them, then a budget would have been set aside to support the show.

    I do agree that you should not make your husband your manager. Put together a REAL team to handle your career.

    Wanda Sykes also stated she was offered an even lower deal from Netflix than Monique. Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock were given $20 million, while Shumer got $13 million.

    The difference between her and Wanda Sykes is that Wanda took her idea to another network and got more money (she was offered $250,000 by Netflix) I think Monique should have (and still can) do the exact same thing. The boycott will not work. You made your video calling out Netflix. Now take that energy and go to another network with your idea.


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