It’s Time To Rise Up For Our Living Legends If We Want The Next Generation To Stand A Chance
There has been a well-known color bias existing within Hollywood for years. We’ve seen it through repeated interviews where everyone from Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, and more have highlighted this idea that pushing content which features various aspects of Black American culture overseas just won’t sell. But now the problem is beyond getting to be seen overseas, the lack of diversity in our roles, but the push to now be paid equally.
Something which has come about in two ways. The first being Tracee Ellis Ross reporting she has been paid “significantly less” than Anthony Anderson, her co-star on ABC’s Black-ish. Something which should come as a surprise for with many of the names involved with the show, such as creator Kenya Barris, Executive Producers Larry Wilmore, Anthony Anderson himself, and Laurence Fishburne having a hand in the production, you’d think they would be looking our for their female lead. Doing as Taraji P. Henson noted Tyler Perry did for her, in terms of raising her up – as he arguably did for many a Black actress with his earlier movies – at least pay wise.
And yet, we find ourselves, Black people, and especially Black men, being called on to join the #TimesUp movement. For while we have done quite well, as seen by the career of Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Kevin Hart, and many others, we cannot same the same for Black women. They are still within a place where they can’t really have their movies fail and expect their careers to still survive. Heck, as shown by Mo’Nique’s recent reveal that Netflix was going to pay her only $500,000 for a comedy special, and this is in comparison to Amy Schumer’s highly criticized special which reportedly got her $11 million, it seems Black women can’t even expect a fair payday.
Which, let’s not forget, it isn’t like Mo’Nique is on a come up similar to Tiffany Haddish or, my bad there aren’t any others to really compare Haddish’s recent rise. Mo’Nique is an Oscar winner. One of the few comedians turned actors to ever garner that award. Also, she is one of the few Black women who arguably, from the boom of Black comics in the 90s, reached the type of success comparable to her male counterparts. Like many members of the King’s of Comedy, Mo’Nique had her own show and is one of the rare Black comediennes who can say their show surpassed that magical syndication number of 100+ episodes.
Yet, apparently, despite a lengthy resume, no real noteworthy scandals, outside of a tiff with Lee Daniels, of who even Gabourey Sidibe, in her book, notes can say some disparaging things on the sly, is being lowballed. Leading to some saying there isn’t a demand, but how can there be a demand for something you didn’t know existed? Which you didn’t even know was possible?
So even if you aren’t willing to drop your Netflix account, make sure you let them know #TimesUp, push your favorite comedians from Dave Chappelle, to Chris Rock, and more to show their support, and put forth that Netflix needs to put a couple of millions worth of respect on Mo’Nique’s name. Not just for her sake, but the future of Black female comediennes so that Mo’Nique, doesn’t end up the Colin Kaepernick or Tarana Burke of her industry. For years putting her neck on the line and only when it becomes fashionable people joining in her fight. After she has long beared the weight of most of the struggle.
Update: Mo’Nique on Sway’s Universe
As Mo’nique notes, if she allows herself to be low-balled, what standard does that set for future Black comediennes? As noted, when you name legends, those who are stand-up legends, especially those who are Black women, there is, of course, Mo’nique, Sommore, and many others. However, when you wanna talk about those who have to crossed over or have the ability to do shows and movies that aren’t in limited release? Mo’Nique is probably one of the few Black comediennes who has had and still can have said opportunities. With no shade to her peers, the Black women of stand up in the 90s haven’t reached anywhere near the heights Mo’Nique has had. And yet, per the video linked above, there is a question of anticipation.
Well, last I checked, and with this website increasingly being Netflix dominated, I can tell you Netflix has thrown money behind a lot of productions which didn’t probably make them a dime. Maybe a few articles about how bad something was, not worth your leisure time, but certainly didn’t increase subscribers. Now, taking note Mo’Nique putting them on blast likely will mean they won’t want any parts of her, but then that gives HBO, who have lost their position as the go-to place for your comedy special, someone to pick up. Hell, maybe even offer that deal Will Packer didn’t come through with. After all, it isn’t like she hasn’t worked with the company before, in terms of Bessie, and between movies and a new show, they can get the type of synergy which Netflix has been cultivating with their talent for a while now.