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    Monique, Charlamagne, and the Problem with Black folks

    In case you missed it, Monique was on The Breakfast Club this past Friday with the aim of better understanding why Charlamagne deemed her ‘Donkey of the Day’ in late January because of her call for people to boycott Netflix. The video explaining her boycott of Netflix is below, but her argument is basically that based on her body of work, awards and accolades, the 500K offer from Netflix for a stand-up comedy special was disrespectful and deeply rooted in her being both Black and female. We don’t disagree. 

    Charlamagne and everyone else on the Breakfast Club argued that Monique didn’t deserve more than 500K because the entertainment industry is more “what have you done for me lately or right now” than “what you did in the past.” Fair point. Monique clapped back by stating that she just had a hit movie in 2016. They asked her to compare numbers with Amy Schumer, Dave Chapelle, and Chris Rock. She responded that as a Black female comedian she isn’t being offered the same opportunities as those individuals. They brought up her reputation in the industry. She explained that you’ve gotta hear both sides, meaning those blackballing her, didn’t give the people the whole side of the story. For every charge of theirs against her, she had not only a response but receipts. Which means, that maybe, just maybe, she was right?

    Issa yes for us dawg bearing the question, why aren’t we listening to, supporting, or checking for her? And, what Black women do we check for unequivocally?

    America, in general, and the Black community seemingly as a whole claim to be on this “Support Black women” “Listen to Black women” “Pay Black women” tip, yet Monique is ‘Donkey of the Day’ for asking us all to do just that. She said it herself, she’s fat and Black, so who wants to listen to her? Monique is also very much herself and not at all afraid to speak plainly about what is and isn’t going on. She’s not always politically correct. Who wants to listen to that? 

    For as much as we claim to check for Black women, this Monique situation brings to light some issues with our so-called support. Some have said her approach was aggressive. What would you have had her do instead? Others have said she should’ve just been happy to get an offer. Would you tell that to Viola or Kerry or Tiffany (to keep it specific to comedy)? Hell, would you tell that to Mother Jennifer Lewis? 

    Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t. Yes, they are all hot right now in terms of their specific skills and what they’re bringing to the table. But have they reached legend status yet? Tiffany, love her, hasn’t and she’s arguably up next. Monique knows and understands this. She feels her fight is bigger than herself even though Charlamagne continuously tried to make it about an individual issue she is facing. Continuously tried to make it a purely capitalist/business argument as if morals just went out the window. 

    Why is it so easy for everybody, Black women sometimes included (looking at you Angela) to discount and disregard causes close to the heart of Black women? Causes Black women ask one to fight for? This isn’t to say there hasn’t been support for Monique as Chance the Rapper and others have tweeted their support and a good amount of people on my timeline also seem to be standing with our good sis. But, Monique had it right in her interview when she remarked that she’s having to explain herself to Black folks in ways she isn’t to those of other demographic groups.

    Which, should lead us all to check ourselves and wonder why. 
    Maybe she was patronizing in the interview. Maybe she hasn’t been crazy relevant in a few years. Maybe she isn’t keeping up with current industry or generational standards/trends. Maybe she has been hard to work with at times. Who hasn’t? Black folks have to get better at keeping stuff in-house. We shouldn’t be her biggest obstacle. 

    Loving, uplifting, supporting, paying, encouraging, and whatever the hell else Black women has to be for all of us – every shade, shape, and size. And it’s gotta be deeper than appreciating us when we save you or the country from yourself. Also, we don’t wanna hear anything about “economic empowerment” if that isn’t for everybody meaning sistas too. Pay us what we’re worth or keep it on the playground fam. And Monique is worth way more than 500K without the ability to tell jokes for two years. 

    Love you to life and see, stream, or hear you at whatever you do next sis. 
    Marketing genius. 



    Big PS: I need me a husband as supportive as Monique’s. 
    BIGGER PS: SO here for her calling him ‘Daddy’ all interview. Plus, wasn’t the way she was saying Leonard and South Carolina hilarious???

    Agree or disagree? Let us know below!

    Gabrielle Hickmon
    Gabrielle Hickmon

    Find me on: Web | Twitter



    1. Olo
      February 26, 2018 / 5:32 pm

      I think the problem with Monique’s argument is the ingenuity behind it. While I am not denying the rampant racist and sexist ideologies in Hollywood, the truth of the matter is Monique is not as popping as she once was. Mind you, she was offered more by Netflix but she had to come audition; Monique felt she was too big of a star to audition for Netflix so she opted not to.
      Monique needs to build her marketability again before she can demand the amount she is asking. After all, if she cannot sell tickets to her comedy show, why should she be paid as well as the others?
      Just my thoughts on the whole issue.

    2. ajea nicole
      March 3, 2018 / 6:59 pm

      I think my biggest frustration was feeling like Monique was comparing herself to not only the acts of like Amy Shumer but even Tiffany Haddish. I believe that when you compare yourself to others, you don’t move any closer to wherever it is that you want to be and what you want to do. I feel that her frustrations are definitely valid. Part of me felt and somewhat still feels that on one hand, Monique hasn’t done anything as of recent to get more than she was offered. While on the other hand, if we forget the amount she was offered, at least she was offered something. I believe that she was given what she was worth and maybe it’s not really directed solely to race but that works she’s done. Hopefully she can use this experience as a steppingstone not a stumbling block.

    3. Jacqueline. Ausby
      March 7, 2018 / 12:28 pm

      I agree with this take, I believe Monique is being blackballed and I think people like Oprah are using the black community to disparage her, portraying her as the angry black woman. It’s not right and I love the way Monique is standing up for herself, there’s also the interview on the View in which Monique shut Whoopie down.

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