I have not shied away about how I have felt about Mo’Nique, and I am not about to start now. First thing’s first: I think Mo’Nique is incredibly talented. I think she is funny, and raw and have always been a fan of hers. With that said, with as long as she has been in this mouth of the lion known as show business, you would think she would have a little more savvy and clout than she does right now. How you got a whole Oscar on your shelf, and you can’t get nobody to send you a script, Sis?!
Make no mistake, I believe the disparity between White and Black actors–before you add the extra weight of sex to these equations. The thing that has always troubled me about Mo’Nique–especially as it related to this Oscar win and Netflix deal–is this:
“How did you let yourself get played like this, Sis?”
At some end, as Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (known through the world as Bernie Mac) said, “At some point the bullshit got to stop.” As a Black women making her own path in media, I have learned two crucial things: the value of networking and self-promotion. I have also learned the value of my name. What does this mean? This means I am aware of the things that make my presence and talents in any situation invaluable. I also realize the strength of my influence.
I’m not going to rehash her mistakes. I’m not going to harp on what I think she did wrong, but what I am going to say is what I don’t think anyone has noticed. With all this talent, and all her issues, how is Sis going to come back from this? I mean, I know what Joaquin Phoenix said about diversity, giving second chances and letting the work speak for itself–let talent do what talent does.
But my concern, flat out? With all that she can do she may never get to do because of what she is rumored to have done. How she has set fire to people and passageways that could help her rebuild. At some end, you have to realize you can’t whup the wide world–and still live in it! If I had one dream for her it would be this (Baldwin said that not everything faced can be changed but nothing can be changed unless it is faced):
Be serious about what you have lost–people, opportunities, money.
Be serious about what you want and how you want to get there–what agent you need, money you want to make, project, etc.
Be serious about what you can regain-relationships, networks, professional contacts.
From there, I think if someone can be real with her, and give her that kind of advice, Sis will be alright. Yes, Oprah was wrong for putting her family business out there (Yes, yes she was–that was a ratings grab!). Yes, Lee Daniels is a BAG of raggedy for how he didn’t advocate for her (from Precious to Empire–that some of that was out of his control (read: network an casting)) and I still believe had she been given the right advice and played game a little better she would have a couple specials on Netflix! But, that only goes back to my original points: what does she want to, how does she want to get there, and what can she regain.
The dream is free and the hustle is sold separately. Someone may need to remind Sis that the only person who can pay those overdrafts on the account of talent is her.
[image from Mo’Nique Worldwide (@moworldwide) on Twitter.]