Mo’Nique has had a clear focus for the last decade of her career. The Academy Award-winning actress is not shy about her critiques on Hollywood and some of the things that have kept her from excelling in the way some of her Oscar-winning contemporaries have. Every chance she gets, she is speaking out on issues in the entertainment industry, and specifically the problems plaguing black people. In a recent interview, Mo opened up about the things she think are missing in the black community and how we need them if we hope to prosper and properly empower the next generation.
Mo’Nique interviewed with Kyra Henderson for her Youtube Channel. As part of the series Embracing Ourselves, Henderson and Mo’Nique took a deep dive into issues of race and womanhood. Henderson thanked Mo’Nique for having “constantly spoken out on our behalf to provide us with a better understanding of the issues we face as black people and a better future.” Their discussion kicked off with Mo’Nique declaring to black youth that “we need ya’ll.” She talks about being able to inspire the next generation and creating things that be impactful 100 years from now. “We need ya’ll in ways that 100 years from now when we are no longer here, but there will be somebody that you’ll impact. So please, to my community, we need us.”
Elsewhere in the sit-down, while discussing Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, Mo’Nique opened up about the lack of integrity, respect, and pride in the black community. The comedian feels it is a key reason why some people today are not thriving and walking in their potential. She used Fannie Lou Hamer’s story as an example. Hamer was brutally beaten by two black men after being instructed by a white man. According to Mo’Nique, those men should have turned around and attacked the white man instead, but because they lacked integrity, they followed orders and harmed Hamer. “Do you know how many stories there are like that?” The comedian broke it down even further reflecting on previous generations. “There was a time when if your grandmother was walking across the street and my brother was walking across the street and your grandmother had groceries in her hand – my brother better get those groceries out her hand,” Mo’nique states claiming we’ve lost that part of our community that allows us to tap each other.
Mo’Nique clearly connects with this story, having been very candid over the years about the support or lack thereof she received from black people in entertainment, including Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, and Tyler Perry. While she got her start as a comedian, Mo’Nique has been very serious in the current incarnation of her career. She has been very bold and outspoken about mistreatment in Hollywood. In the interview, she says she connects with Hamer and “speaks with her” often, saying the civil rights leader “tells” her to continue using her big mouth to insight change.
While this particular message might be well received by some, it’s not often that people connect with Mo’Nique’s ideas without controversy. She has famously been open about her marriage, giving her husband credit for “raising” her and “teaching” her how to be a queen. Mo’Nique seems to be ok with standing on her own in some of her thoughts. She stresses in the interview with Kyra that some of the most iconic black activists stood alone in the beginning. After reading the biographies of Fannie Lou, Eartha Kitt, and Nina Simone, Mo’nique believes that all of these women were on their own when fighting for change.