Here’s the latest in the very public back-and-forth between Mo’Nique and Lee Daniels, regarding the former’s alleged industry blacklisting for what Daniels said was her unwillingness to “play the game” when it came to promoting “Precious” in 2009, as well as campaigning for the Oscar she would eventually win…
Said Daniels previously: “Mo’nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community. I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on. However, the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles.”
What roles was he referring to? Daniels didn’t offer, but Mo’nique, in her later response, said that she was initially offered the role in “The Butler” that Oprah Winfrey played, and that she was also approached by the producers of “Empire” to be considered for that hit series, to play the role that eventually went to Taraji P. Henson (one that’s planted her squarely in a spotlight she hasn’t ever really enjoyed).
Soon after that revelation by Mo’Nique, “Empire” co-creator, and “The Butler” co-screenwriter, Danny Strong, went public to dispute Mo’Nique’s claims that she was in contention for roles in either project, leading many to further doubt the actress’ claims as well.
Certainly not one to be publicly shamed, Mo’Nique has now responded, via Sway’s radio program (the interview is embedded below), with evidence – email conversations – that suggest she was indeed being considered for the part, at the very least, even if she wasn’t offered it. Specifically, the emails, which Sway reads out loud, imply that she was in contention for the part, and, again, according to the emails, Lee Daniels really wanted her for the part!
The interview is almost 30 minutes long, and worth listening to. Mo’Nique clears up the matter quite succinctly, and does so with a few other items related to her supposed industry “black-listing” that have been topics of much discussion over the last month or so.
I’m actually all for Mo’Nique in this case! We (black folks) routinely preach about knowing one’s worth, especially in an industry in which we have practically no power, and standing up for ourselves when faced with any situation in which our worth is trivialized. Well, here’s someone who has been firm on all those things, with respect to her own career, but yet some of us so readily disparage her, and I don’t understand why. We should be doing the opposite. Here’s a black woman in an industry in which black women (black people overall, really, despite current trends) have long been marginalized, standing up to the so-called old guard. She’s defending herself, and, in my opinion, doing so in a very level-headed, mature fashion, and she’s winning, despite any allegations of black-listings or black-ballings. Get behind her instead of trashing her.
By the way, a film she co-stars in, Patrik-Ian Polk’s coming-of-age drama ‘Blackbird,’ opens this weekend.