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She smiles when she’s less angry

Why Mo’Nique is The “Angry Black Woman” Who Deserves To Be Angry

Until she gets her due

Mo’Nique is angry. And it’s not that pitiful charade that Tyler Perry loves to slot in the factory of hits that have earned him millions. It’s not the kind that is allotted to women like me, who express ourselves so thoroughly that it leaves our listeners impressively startled enough to label us angrily black.

Mo’Nique is pissed as fuck because she knows she wouldn’t have anything to be worked up about — if only she looked the part.

Much like SNL cast member — Leslie Jones — who is another successful comedian and star in her own right, with a template that is far removed from the prototypes — that usually garner the unwavering approval and loyalty of the Black community, Mo’Nique has always maintained her specialized brand of delivery that doesn’t hide under the weight of respectability or finessed edits.

When Jones was publicly battling the ire of White supremacists who were taking the lead from Milo Yiannopoulos a former senior editor at Breibart — and solidified asshole — the insults were unfathomably vile in nature and forced Jones to take an extended hiatus from Twitter.

The most painful aspect of the treatment Jones received wasn’t embedded in the abuse she received from a pathetic group of exploiters with woefully generic purposes — it was the deafening silence from her own community.

There seemed to be this aversion to defend Jones due to her growing reputation as the funny Black woman with no limits and a tendency to give her “sistas” a bad name. She was basically cancelled when she appeared in that infamous AllState commercial — where she was depicted as the not-so cute Black woman shamelessly trying to get an obviously “frightened” White man to notice her. There’s no question that if the script had called for a “Rihanna-type” — the response would’ve been more favorable.

Even her hosting gig at the 2017 BET Awards was deemed less than stellar — as the tweets poured in with casual disdain towards a woman who is funny as fuck and deserves the support that is so readily given to the ones we’ve been programmed to recognize with robotic adherence.

Mo’Nique is angry because she simply hasn’t been given her due.

During the 2009/2010 award season when the movie every White person in the universe paid to see became the darling of the circuit, the Baltimore-born stand-up comedian was immersed in a fueled scandal that threatened to dim the spotlight on what was arguably her best work to date.

There were stories circulating about her erratic behavior and unreasonable demands. She was asking to be paid thousands of dollars in appearance fees to promote Precious — the film that former friends and the project’s producers Lee Daniels and Oprah were tirelessly campaigning for.

A searing article in The Los Angeles Times sealed Mo’Nique’s fate when it called out the actress who at the time was being groomed for an impending Oscar win, for haughtily avoiding the 2009 New York Film Critics Awards ceremony, because her monetary demands had been shunned. There is a brief reference to the possibility that Mo’Nique wasn’t purposely being a a royal pain in the ass — but was actually flying back from vacation in order to make the early call time for her TV show the following morning.

The rest of the piece gives a scorching review of Mo’Nique at her worst while also paying homage to her unpolished background, that could explain the damningly crude attitude — attacking her chances of being wholly accepted into the elite world of million dollar deals and strategically-placed friends.

A prominent film critic even went as far as to unearth a clip from the Oscar-winner’s now-defunct TV show, that showed her discussing the do and don’ts of campaigning with actors Terence Howard and Taraji P. Henson (both past Oscar nominees for Hustle & Flow and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — respectively).

The argument Mo’Nique makes showcasing the “manner of speaking” that is automatically regulated as “ghetto talk” may not make sense to those who feign confusion, when anyone tries to make their case in a way that is deemed less refined. But given these times of acute feminism and the cheerleading squad for women who are in it for the win, you have to admit that her signature stance doesn’t deviate from the demands of mostly White protesters who are parading the streets in record numbers — with the blessing of well-angled lenses.

However back in 2009, she was seen as pathetically out-of-touch with the basic requirements for an up-and-coming talent who was just “too Black” and clueless to grasp the ABCs of playing by the rules in order to guarantee the never-ending membership to fame and fortune.

Howard tries strenuously to explain to Mo’Nique that she needs to pitch in to help to spread the word about a small, important, artistic film so that it can be widely seen and become successful, but she just doesn’t appear to grasp the idea.

Both Howard and Henson inadvertently sold out Mo’Nque by using their guest appearance on her show as the perfect opportunity to subtly mock her celebrated ignorance.

Both Lee Daniels and Oprah definitely fucked her over by distancing themselves once it became clear that she was going to be eaten alive by the establishment that tried to prop her.

Mo’Nique did manage to snag the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and even though she included Oprah in her acceptance speech — both women can’t stand to be in the same room, and it stems from issues that go far beyond the corridors of La La land.

The former Queen of Daytime used her platform to exploit personal matters that were divulged to her in private by hosting an episode that included the comedian’s family members discussing personal shit without the consent of the missing bread-winner.

Mo’Nique is an angry Black woman because she’s been used and mishandled by those who refused to stand by her, and now she can’t get hired for shit and if she does manage to get a handout she has to reject it to save her dignity.

Back in 2015, The Hollywood Reporter gave Mo’Nique access to their space to do with it what she willed. She proceeded to coherently translate the material she had been using in her stand-up shows, which included the reasons why she had been “blackballed” by the industry after her Oscar win, and how she had been offered the role Oprah stole in The Butler. She also confessed that she had lost out on other meaty opportunities that Lee Daniels had dangled in front of her and swiftly rescinded.

Daniels for his part has always tried to eat his cake and have it too by remaining stoically neutral in his approach to a situation that consistently challenges his sense of loyalty — to the point of his compelling failure to earn the trust of a woman who could still use the endorsement of a highly-successful Black entertainment mogul.

Instead his response to the enlightening piece on THR reveals his expected copout:

“Mo’nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community. I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on. However, the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles.”

The only truth in that statement is housed in the first line where Daniels acknowledges the “creative force” that has always shielded the unparalleled talent that compels Mo’Nique to “angrily” cry foul when shit ain’t right.

Her latest qualms has her positioned against streaming giant, Netflix, and the troubles are once again about finances, and the demands of a star who never stopped doing excellent work (did you peep her in HBO’s Bessie?) even after her career was derailed.

Mo’Nique’s deal to do a special, which has proven to be a profitable venture for her other esteemed counterparts, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle (to name a few), who each pocketed around $20 million for their outing, fell through due to the paltry amount she was offered — $500,000.

You can get the full scope of what she’s been dealing with here:

Never underestimate a woman’s worth

To make matters worse, Amy Schumer, the over-hyped and painfully unfunny comedian who will never win an Oscar or star in a movie that displays her full capacity, unbelievably garnered a cool $13 million for her special, based on her bankability that was demonstrated when “she sold out Madison Square Garden twice and scored a big summer movie.”

Netflix is steadfastly defending what they consider an appropriate fee for someone who already has a tainted reputation and is in desperate need for a refreshingly inspiring comeback. They apparently “don’t go off resumes” or take into consideration the magnitude of an Oscar win — especially when the recipient is a “Big, Black woman” with “anger” issues.

MoNique in true fashion has gone public with her feud with Netflix and is even asking us to join her in a boycott to call out the “gender bias and color bias” that is preventing her from reaping what she most certainly deserves as an artist of her standing.

Since her video for the boycott went viral, the response has been expectedly tilted against her, as naysayers on social media systematically douse her with remnants from the past, while also treating her the way they handled fellow comedian Leslie Jones who was blamed and shamed for her misfortune.

Jones was a Black woman who didn’t fit the role that necessitates the charge of the “Beyhive” who will swarm you dead if you dare misspell the name of All names. So, she was left to fight alone.

Mo’Nique is a Black woman who deserves to be angry and doesn’t give a damn if she fights solo — because she’s been doing exactly that for almost a decade.

It’s appalling how we choose the ones we care about versus the rest of the pile that gets discarded because of the lack of momentum in their favor. We support White film and TV stars when they challenge the system and win. We expect that those victories will somehow spill into the platters of their Black counterparts — even when the evidence suggests otherwise.

We click our admission into movements that boast the gold star hashtags and retweet the threads of testimonies that move us to invisible tears. We cancel anything or anyone that dares to question or prove their disloyalty, and righteously confirm our verified status with or without the tick of confirmation.

But when we are presented with a no-brainer on the heels of a woman who has done nothing less of what she’s supposed to accomplish as a person of color and even more daunting — a Black woman with a voice — a loud one at that; we immediately reject her privileges and instead balk at her audacity to be heard and cared for.

She’s too bold. Too Black. Too big. Too aggressive. Too intimidating. Too greedy for her own good. Too demanding. Tacky. Difficult. Self-destructive.

Yet, there are plenty of male movie stars who are all of those things with the exception of being “Black” and they’re not at all affected by the ramifications of their bad behavior because of their prized “Whiteness” — and the fact that box office receipts are the preferred currency in a town will keep hiring drug addicts until they die.

Mo’Nique gets it — even if her more respected and idolized former co-workers don’t.

And this is why not supporting her in this quest to dismantle the status quo, that is rigged to overrun one-of-a-kind gems like her who refuse to “play nice” for the glory of fleeting stardom — is nothing short of criminal and suffocatingly hypocritical.

Stop wasting your praises on White women who have already been feted in ways that Black women are still trying to match — and concentrate on the cases that are urgent and almost terminal.

Ellen Pompeo was primed to be TV’s $20 Million Woman because she was hired by an ambitious Black showrunner who had to make that call in order to advance her career far enough to be able to cater to her own.

Mo’Nique was supposed to be a movie star, making millions of dollars that could rival Kevin Hart’s staggering salary, but she was aligned with influential Black industry types — that aided in her downfall and now she’s trying to find her way back against all odds.

She’s the angry Black woman who needs us to be just as angry — now more than ever.

Let’s follow suit — and stay that way. At least until she gets her due.

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