In honor of Women’s History Month, we will not keep acting like Monique doesn't make sense.
Recently, award-winning actress and comedian Monique has been everywhere trying to defend her decision to call for a boycott of Netflix after pay disparities. Monique credited gender and race bias as the reason she had been offered only a fraction of what Amy Schummer, a white comedian, and other male comedians made, such as Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. Monique is confident that black women in comedy are being gypped. Actress and comedian Wanda Sykes confirmed Monique’s claim by saying that Netflix had offered her less than half of the $500,000 they were willing to give Monique. It’s no secret that all women are hit harder by the pay gap in almost every industry and every working field, but Netflix has to do better to make legendary comedians such as Monique and Wanda Sykes feel as though they are legends and have put in the work to earn the money they are being offered.
Amy Schummer was provided $13 million for her Netflix special and considering that she is new to the game and isn't funny at all, I don't see how Monique (an original queen of comedy and award-winning actress with a lengthy resume) only got offered $500,000 (before taxes).
After her call for the boycott, Monique had gone viral, and her fight for equality had turned into a joke with different “I love us for real” mock videos. Her appearances on the View and the Breakfast Club was spent with her defending her reasoning for the boycott, whether or not she deserves the pay because she hasn't been “relevant” in the past two years, and her overall approach.
Defending and more defending.
Lenard aka Charlamagne Tha God was challenged by Monique as she asked him to explain why he gave her, “Donkey of the Day.” He continued to say that he felt like Monique didn't deserve any higher than what she was being offered because she hasn't been relevant in the past two years...like, she isn't one of the original queens of comedy. Also, Amy Schumer’s budget for her Snatched was $42 million, and it made $45 million … That’s only a $3 million profit … Almost Christmas’ budget was $17 million, and it made $42 million.” Monique's movie made $22 million more, despite being in almost 1,000 fewer theaters.
But, I digress. Whoopi Goldberg addressed Monique about her overall approach to things and how she could've done it better.
This situation got me thinking...Does the approach denounce the underlying message?
My answer is no.
Did Monique’s approach to the whole Netflix thing suck? Yes. But, do I still understand what she's saying and identify the issue at hand? Yes.
Lorraine Hansberry once said that “the most oppressed group of any oppressed group will be its women, who are twice oppressed and as oppression makes people more militant, women become twice militant, because they are twice oppressed.”
The fact that a woman stood up and said, “hey, this is how I’m being treated...it’s unfair, and I don't want anyone else who looks like me to be treated the same way...,” and people have criticized her, brushed her off, and made a joke of the situation...annoys me.
How do we expect future women in comedy (or women in ANY field) to speak out against bigotry, sexism, and possible racism without them having the fear that the public will judge and criticize them? This malfeasance puts women in the position to be silenced and not speak out against things that seem unfair.
Some will say that Monique’s claims aren't being heard because she has been “blackballed” in Hollywood. And I think that it’s important to insert a prominent James Baldwin quote here - It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. Monique makes valid points in her claim and if her being “blackballed” makes you turn your cheek to the situation then stay turned because you don't deserve to be a part of the conversation.
This isn't a black feminism and intersectionality rant. This is a rant that calls for people not to be judged, demeaned, or brushed off when they are speaking out against traces of blatant inequality. This rant is meant to show that there is no prerequisite for speaking out against what you feel isn't right. Women, specifically black women, shouldn’t feel like they are being “difficult,” “too loud,” or “extra," mainly when these pernicious terms have been used to devalue the black woman’s opinion for centuries.
With that being said, I'm with Jada, Chance, and probably a small portion of the population.
Remember, Malcolm X said that “the most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in American is the black woman.”
I would love to see ALL women speaking out against unfairness without the negative critique of those who should be rallying behind them. The recent Harvey Weinstein situation shows us that when we speak out, we make it possible for others to do the same without fear. Period.