The first time I heard about the "Mo'Nique Boycotting Netflix" issue was in the car on the way to work. Charlamagne Thagod from The Breakfast Club was giving her Donkey of the Day.
In typical Charlamagne fashion, he wasn't just talking about the situation, he went in. He pretty much called Mo'Nique a joke. Even going as far to pull in clips from her Sway in the Morning interview. He called her delusional for saying that she was the most decorated comedian alive, ending it by saying that you're only as valuable as your current market value.
What Charlamagne failed to point out is that Mo'Nique is the only female comedian that has have similar careers like our legendary male comedians, i.e. Steve Harvey, Martin Lawrence, and Kevin Hart. Mo'Nique has had a hit sitcom on the UPN, a hit talk show on BET, movies, and many successful comedy tours.
When I got in the office, the first thing I did was listen to the Sway in the Morning interview. In the interview, Mo'Nique walks us through the timeline and details with Netflix. She explained how Netflix reached out to her and asked if their representatives could come see her show. Three representatives saw the show and all of them loved it. Netflix then came to her with an offer of $500.000.
Now, I don't pretend to know anything about comedian pay days, but coming from Netflix, $500,000 seemed extremely low. Especially after the offers of $40 million for Chris Rock, $60 million for Dave Chappelle, $100 million for Jerry Seinfeld, and $11 million for Amy Schumer. Taken aback by the offer, Mo'Nique and her husband went back to Netflix to show them proof of her international reach. Still, Netflix didn't budge on the offer and instead gave her a ridiculous excuse that they didn't go off resumes. Instead, they based their offers based on anticipation.
I'm just going to put it out there that I damn sure wasn't looking for a Jerry Seinfeld or Amy Schumer special.
Anyway, with her back against the wall, she brought up Amy Schumer and her $11 million payout. It's no secret that Amy Schumer pushed back on Netflix and demanded a larger salary. She did this simply on the strength of how much Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock was offered. The gag of it all is the special turned out to be trash and not worth the investment.
Later that night, I'm strolling up Twitter. I run across a video of Mo'Nique in front of her award case. (She has receipts.) She breaks down the box office numbers from Amy Schumer's budget for Snatch, which was $42 Million and grossed $45 million, making a mere $3 million profit. Whereas her film Precious had a budget of $10 million and grossed $47 million, making a profit of $37 million. The film was also nominated for six Academy Awards in which Mo'Nique won Best Supporting Actress.
See, I grew up with The Parkers on television. Being a heavier girl with a dream of acting, it was seeing Mo'Nique and Countess on the screen that gave me hope. It was Mo'Nique who gave me confidence in my body. She made it cool to say, "skinny bitches are evil." And even if you're not a fan of the fat girl jokes, Mo'Nique still has done things to push our culture forward.
Instead of rallying behind someone who has given their career to us, we laugh. We say that she should be humble and change her approach.
It seems every time someone attempts to take up for us, we say "Sit Your Ass Down." Yet, we complain about companies saying racist sh*t and just apologizing. Black Twitter will go in an uproar for a week. Then move on to the next topic. We are the only race with the greatest buying power but refuse to use it when it counts. Aren't you tired of this cycle of blatant racism being covered up with a half ass apology?
I would like to think this is just a Mo'Nique issue, but it's not.
In fact, we quickly dismiss anyone who questions the norm.
When Jay-Z announced Tidal, people was talking about how expensive it was, yet we spend hours searching the internet for free content from Tidal.
When Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith called for a boycott of the Oscars for lack of representation everyone said they was only doing it because Will didn't get a nomination that year. Yet, we will watch the Oscars and tweet #OscarsSoWhite.
When Kanye was ranting about how racist the fashion industry was, we told him he had "rich n*gga problems" and to stick to rapping. Yet, we will buy the knockoff Yeezy clothes from Zara and H&M.
At what point is enough going to be enough? When are we going to demand that the industry respect us and our legends? When will we realize that change doesn't come with convenience?
That same energy we have towards Black Panther should be for anybody who's pushing our culture forward. If we don't change the norm now, what happens if Issa pisses off the wrong person? Or Tiffany Haddish? Are we saying it's okay to strip them of everything they have done because they aren't "hot" right now? Nah, f*ck that! If we can root for Shonda Rhimes and Ellen Pompeo to get their money, why can't we stand behind Mo'Nique and demand that Netflix run her money? Or would that be too much like right?
We're at a very pivotal time in our country.
Obama may not be in office but that doesn't mean we can't keep his spirit of change alive. We can continue to push our culture forward, but it has to start from the inside. We must be like Issa Rae and root for everybody black, including Mo'Nique and any other celebrity that dares to question the status quo. It's time we get behind our legends.
We can easily make our presence known and felt. And not just on the Internet as a trending topic. We can hit them where it hurts: their pockets. It's going to be uncomfortable. We may not be able to watch our favorite shows or go to our favorite cheap clothing stores. But that's the price we pay to ensure we're not having this same conversation again in 10 years.
Real change doesn't come with convenience.