mo’nique has the right to live her truth, even if that means telling oprah, tyler perry & lee daniels to suck her d*ck

May 16, 2017

During a recent standup show, actress and comedian Mo’Nique pulled no punches while calling out media titans Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Since appearing in the Daniels directed and Winfrey and Perry produced film Precious in 2009, Mo’Nique has repeatedly claimed that she was blackballed in Hollywood, and now she is unabashedly taking the story a step even further:

“No, I was not blackballed. I was white-balled by some black dicks who had no balls,” the comedian told the crowd. “So, thank you, Mr. Lee Daniels. Thank you, Mr. Tyler Perry. Thank you, Ms. Oprah Winfrey. No, baby, I wasn’t blackballed. […] It would kill me not to say the real shit. You are not paying me equally. You are not treating me fairly. Y’all could suck my dick if I had one.”

Some responded to the latest profanity-laced addition to the long-lasting feud without sympathy for the actress. After 8 years, they argued, she should let it go, noting that by taking on the most powerful names in Black Hollywood, she is ruining her career. Others focused on the indelicacy of her words and dismissed her as bitter.

But all of these criticisms should sound familiar to any Black person who has ever had to work in a professional environment. Always already assumed to be unjustifiably angry, and expected to just sit silently and take the abuses that rain down upon us while turning the other cheek, Black people–and Black women in particular–are constantly punished for speaking up about their professional mistreatment. And respectability demands that, if we speak up at all, Black peoples’ concerns be emotionless and tone-policed.

But the real problem is that not only do the people who have power over the paychecks of those who speak up use their daringness against them, even fellow Black people who recognize the unfairness of the professional experience jump on the bandwagon to attack those who don’t “play the game.”

We don’t know all the specifics of this drama, but we do know that in 2015 when Mo’Nique said that she was originally considered to be cast as Cookie in Empire and Daniels vehemently denied it, she came out with receipts proving she was telling the truth. We also know that when she first claimed that he got her blackballed for not “playing the game” while promoting Precious during Oscar season, Daniels called her actions “reverse racism,” arguing, “You have to thank the producers of the film, you have to thank the studios. And I think she didn’t understand that, and I said, ‘People aren’t going to respond well if you don’t.’”

The fact that people don’t respond well to Black people who don’t show enough gratitude is a problem to challenge, not to uphold. The fact that Daniels defended this problem by charging Mo’Nique with “reverse-racism” when she refused to uphold it should show that he is more interested in getting her to play the anti-Black (woman) game than he is in trying to overturn the whole board. And, as my colleague Phillip B. Williams said, “What is the purpose of Black people getting into positions of power if they are just going to tell your Black ass to ‘play the game’ y’all are supposed to be dismantling together?”

Maybe Mo’Nique is ok with not working again rather than letting people get away with abusing their power over Black women. Maybe if Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry and Oprah make sure only Black women who can or are willing to play the game succeed, then they really do need to suck Mo’Nique’s dick. Maybe all the world needs is more Mo’Niques who stand up for themselves when everyone says they shouldn’t.