Mo’Nique (neé Monique Angela Hicks) is an American comedian and actress. She is known for her role in the UPN series The Parkers, and she simultaneously made a name for herself as a stand-up comic in significant venues like the Apollo Theatre. She is successful, having received both a Grammy nomination with other female comedians for a comedy album, and she has won an Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Supporting Actress in the 2009 film Precious.
However, she has taken to Instagram to request a boycott of Netflix for offering her a “scant” $500,000 to play in a comedy special, where Amy Shumer was offered $11 million and Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle were each offered $20 million for the same role. Mo’Nique suggests that this is an issue of “color and gender bias” that has been the cause of this variance in payment.
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Could this be so?
Look at Mo’Nique. She is a woman. But, so is Amy Schumer. So, that appears to be strike one.
Well, maybe it is because she is black. Yeah, that must be where the bias comes from:
Well, these men are also black. So, on what basis does Mo’Nique complain?
This reveals an unkind truth about the performing arts / entertainment industry for sure. But it is a TRUTH nonetheless. Mo’Nique, to her great credit, holds an Academy Award for a movie. None of the other three entertainers can claim this. However, Amy and Chris both have multiple awards from other recognition academies, and all three of the other entertainers have highly visible careers. Precious received critical acclaim, but it only grossed $65 million in the box office. The other three actors have become widely renowned and are indeed household names.
To Mo’Nique’s credit, she wisely does not mention that Oscar. She would have been berated for such arrogance in the company of these other artists. But she is unwise to allege this pay disparity to gender and race, because this just isn’t so as we see above.
The real issue here is visibility. I am personally, effectively a co-recipient of a Grammy award due to project work I was involved in. But this does not make me a hit in the entertainment industry at all, because my part, though significant, was small. It is totally out of line to place myself on the same level as Michael Jackson because I never achieved that level of popularity and success. In similar fashion, Mo’Nique has a lot to learn about her place in the entertainment world. Claiming falsely-based charges of bias may have ruined her career. To be sure, Hollywood has its own very liberal, very crazy set of rules. But it also has its pecking order, and it might be here that we are witnessing a very foolish move, perhaps enough to get this talented actress a career suicide.
It works much better to stay in truth and not spin deceitful webs using liberal tropes. Here, it just does not square with reality.