Was Mo’Nique’s Netflix offer a matter of racism or relevancy?
Back in January, comedian Mo’nique asked us to boycott Netflix. She accused the company of gender bias, racial bias, and age bias. Netflix offered her $500,000 to do a comedy special. She used Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock as reference points because they each received multi-million dollar deals. First of all, let me start by saying that Mo’Nique is a pioneer in the plus size community. It is undeniable that she has blazed a trail for us “fat, Black, women” in creative occupations. However, her stance on Netflix being racist and gender biased is inaccurate. Mo’Nique’s situation, in particular, appears to be an isolated incident. Netflix has given Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, and Michaela Coel million dollar contracts. Additionally, Netflix is giving Black women representation in programs like Dear White People, The Incredible Jessica James, She’s Gotta Have It, and Orange is the New Black.
Numbers Don’t Lie, My Loves
While Netflix definitely low balled Mo’Nique’s offer, especially as an Oscar winner, her expectation for a multi-million dollar deal seems a bit far fetched. For starters, Mo’Nique has not single handedly sold out an arena tour as of 2018. Queens of Comedy had an ensemble cast. Chris Rock and Amy Schumer both had extremely successful arena tours under their belts prior to their Netflix specials. Mo’Nique also has not been the lead actress in a film since 2006’s Phat Girlz. She was a supporting character in Precious and Almost Christmas. Amy’s ‘Snatched’ is largely seen as a flop, but ‘Trainwreck’ grossed 110 million dollars. Netflix went wrong by telling Mo’Nique they don’t base their offers on resume and relevancy when it is obvious they do. Also, if they truly think she’s a legend, they should pay her like one. Otherwise, the word “legend” should have never been used.
The Wage Gap
The wage gap is a serious issue. Black women make 63 cents to every White man’s dollar. That gap becomes even more prevalent in creative industries. Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Taraji P Henson are fighting to be paid equivalently to their White counterparts. It is critical that we as women come together to close the wage gap amongst ourselves. Only then, can we successfully close the pay gap between us and men. Overall, Mo’nique’s outcry blaming racism and sexism was irresponsible. Even though Netflix should be ashamed to have offered her a mere $500,000, and demand exclusivity. There are so many instances where flagrant racism, ageism, and sexism exist in the workplace. Her situation is not one of them. It is vital to know your worth. It is even more important to know how to assert it. Professionalism is necessary if you don’t want to destroy your reputation, or opportunities for employment.