Home Actress #TIMESUP, Unless You’re A Loud, Black Woman

#TIMESUP, Unless You’re A Loud, Black Woman

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It was the night of the Golden Globes, our favorite Hollywood elites were dressed to the nines in their courageous black for solidarity, then it happened, Oprah Winfrey snatched our hearts and our edges as she boldly declared “Time is UP!” referring to sexual harassment, pay inequity, and violence against women. We were so shook, it quickly became a twitter Trending hashtag, along with #Oprah2020.Fast forward to this week, the movement is in full effect. Our favorite fashionable girlfriend, Tracee Ellis Ross reveals that she may cut back appearances on her show Black-ish because she is being grossly underpaid compared to her co-star, Anthony Anderson. Social Media and black twitter were here for it!

Ah, but alas, the #TIMESUP movement is still an American movement, and American movements of equality and change have always had silent and sometimes not-so-silent, points of exclusion. Academy-Award winning comedienne, Mo’ Nique makes a video reporting that streaming service and content curator, Netflix, offered her an insulting $500k for a comedy special and called for us to boycott the company. Now, to most of us, $500k would be a beautiful payday, however when you contextualize that Amy Schumer was reportedly offered 13M, and male comedians were given upwards of $20 Million, the offer is exposed for the spit in the face that it is.

Oh, but we were NOT outraged! Firstly, none of us are boycotting, cause let’s be honest, we stopped paying for cable for a reason, and that reason…is Netflix. This however, does not change the merit of Mo’ Nique’s grievance. People quickly spouted, “well she hasn’t had as much commercial success as others”, so some of us took to social media to remind you of her achievements.

Then, the argument became “Well, Mo’ Nique has a bad reputation, she even cussed at Oprah and Tyler Perry *insert collective black gasp*, because everyone knows, you can’t challenge black royalty, even if it is about fair pay. It was around then that it dawned on me, Mo’Nique is far too black, and far too loud to be deserving of equality. I mean, she doesn’t even subscribe to respectability politics. In case my sarcasm doesn’t give it away, I really despise the ways in which we reinforce misynoir. It is so deeply rooted in us, that we don’t even recognize that we’re entrapped in its snares. If we are frank, Mo’Nique’s bad reputation has to do with money. She doesn’t have a history of being late, she doesn’t have a history of being rude to co-stars, she has a reputation for not playing about her money and not being afraid to challenge even the most powerful among us.
It only takes a quick google search of the networth of Black leading ladies like Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, or Kerry Washington in comparison to their white counterparts to see that the issue is widespread. Black women make significantly less in Hollywood and it has nothing to do with their reputation or “character”. See the issue with Mo’ Nique is that she’s not afraid to speak up each and every time she is wronged. Others remain silent to remain working, but that doesn’t make them more noble, that makes them prisoners to the discriminatory system that gives them a fraction of a fraction of the fortune that is being made from their gift.

Yes, boycotting Netflix may be a bridge too far, but let’s not pretend that pay has been based on merit or reputation.

Time may be up for some, but for others, the clock is still ticking.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks…that piece was a powerful reminder that we do pander to popularity and that this is not how we should play it. its not about Monique and wheher she just started or didnt..its about fairness and equality. Half a million may sound alot but look at the differences in payment its disgusting and none of us should think that is ok…
    Living in the UK sometimes means these arguments fly past my head- sometimes i dont always recognise the names n the shows, but i believe a thousand percent she should be paid the equivalent to orhers. in her case its not just about being paid the same as men but also as white women…keep speeking OUT!

  2. Monique paved the way for those million dollar women of the millenium…it is an insult to her talent and capabilities to underpay and keep her in the back…money answers all things…this only says the industry knows to withhold her financially will keep her quiet among those who support her…WRONG…It only add fuel to her mindset…one thing you NEVER do is create a reason for WOMAN of any race to cry RAPE…I applaud Monique and Tracey for their strength.

  3. It is so great to see Mo’Nique trending for a second… imagine if she were paid and promoted like the other amazing comedians. Would be unmatched. But as it stands she’s having to do the hard work again, maybe this time will be different and the message will be accepted.

  4. Monique is good. One of my favorite but as far as the Oprah goes…she already signed the contract…play the game…Netflix low balled you…play the game. Also if you look at legends we got them…but she not one. Love her but no…she not packing out Madison Square Garden.

    Lastly please raise your hand if someone can cuss you out and you still give them your money. Play…the…game…or if you hot stuff…build your own.

    Can’t be everyone else all the time.

  5. While there are several legitimate arguments here, the issue is a lot more complicated by several additional missing factors. Monique has mitigating factors that have nothing to do with money or perceptions of her attitude.

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