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Mo’Nique Speaks On Taraji P. Henson’s Breakdown Over Pay Disparity: ‘Now, When I Said It…’

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Actresses Mo'Nique and Taraji P. Henson in the audience at the 25th Film Independent's Spirit Awards held at Nokia Event Deck at L.A. Live on March 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

In her interview on “Club Shay Shay,” Mo’Nique discussed Taraji P. Henson breaking down in tears while discussing the pay disparity in Hollywood and reflected on why her own outspokenness on the issue over a decade ago garnered a different response.

Mo’Nique On Taraji P. Henson Breaking Down While Promoting ‘The Color Purple’

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Taraji P. Henson via Twitter

When I saw Taraji broken on those platforms it was painful to watch.

However, Taraji and I had a conversation over a decade ago in my trailer – when I was doing ‘The Mo’Nique Show.’

And she said, ‘You gotta keep on getting it until your turn comes.’

And I said, ‘Taraji, most of us die before our turn comes – we gotta ask for it right now.

Now, I understand that because there was a time that I felt the same way. Because that’s what I was told.

You just keep going and we’ll get them the next time.

We’ll get them the next time.

And we’ll get them the next time. And the next time never comes.

And you see our sister, broken, sitting on those platforms.

Mo’Nique further elaborated on her belief regarding why she perceives the Black community as being more receptive to Taraji than to herself.

I think there are a few reason why… number one – it’s the messenger!

I should just be grateful I got invited to the party.

You a big, fat, Black woman. How dare you be the one.

And then on top of that – you’re saying names.

You’re saying Oprah’s name out loud. You’re saying Tyler’s name out loud. You’re saying Lee’s name out loud. You’re saying Lionsgate out loud.

That’s not what we do. We say, ‘They.’ We say, ‘The people.’ We say, ‘The studio.’ We say, ‘The producers.’

How dare you actually say our heroes’ names?! These are our heroes. How could you say their names out loud?!

Because they’re the ones that did it!

And if I don’t say it out loud – now you see a woman that is swallowing that pain…that is so stressed out.

Then, you see our sister Taraji P. Henson sit on the platform – and I love that baby – she’s a beautiful spirit.

But to see her that broken what our community was saying was, ‘We have a hard time (some of us)…we have a hard time seeing a strong Black woman with her back straight and her chin up and a strong Black man standing by her side.

We have a hard time accepting that. But, we can accept seeing a Black woman broken.

Now, it’s really serious cause she’s falling apart. Our community had a hard time with those two things. 

Embed from Getty Images

Mo’Nique drove the point home that the issue was the messenger!

It was the messenger.

It was the way – I’m not putting my head down.

I’m not shedding one tear.

I’m not gonna say, ‘I don’t want to say their names because I might get in trouble.’

I’mma say all of it.

Because when you really think about that little girl coming behind you what I don’t ever want that baby to see is me broken.

I don’t want her to see me falling apart.

And I understand it.

I understand how it can happen when you may not have a foundation at home.

When you may not have that man at home or that woman at home – whomever – that support person saying, ‘You’re not crazy. I got you. Come on. We gone do this. We’re going to get through this.’ 

Mo’Nique Believes Hollywood Made An Example Out Of Her To Deter Others From Speaking Out

Shannon Sharpe asked Mo’Nique if she believes Hollywood made an example out of her to make other Black actresses afraid to speak out.

She responded: 

Sometimes we act like we don’t know our history.

See, back in the day, when they had us in chains, they would beat one real good, in front of the others to let everybody know what you don’t want is that type of a— whooping!

So, what they said was, ‘We’re going to beat Mo’Nique really good. We’re going to sit her down.’

And I made it public, financially my family took a hit, Shannon. And when I tell you we took a hit – we took a hit!

So, when you see our sister go through that. You see her go through and we act like our eyes didn’t see what it saw when we watched that promotion happen with ‘The Color Purple.’

We wanted to act like we didn’t see how Oprah Winfrey treated Taraji.

In my humble opinion, when you saw her walk up you saw that there was tension.

You saw that there was something happening.

And then when you see Taraji write her a love letter it’s like listen we gotta stand tall and stand strong on what we know.

Related: Taraji P. Henson Shares Oprah Winfrey Appreciation Post To Squash False Narratives

We know you were mistreated.

We know it wasn’t right.

We know it was unfair.

And then you turn around and say, ‘Oh, but Lady O handled it.’

I have a problem with that.

I have a problem with that because that allows Lady O to keep on doing what she’s doing and we’re in a position of ‘I don’t want say nothing cause we saw how Mo’Nique got whooped.’

But, again…that’s just my humble opinion.

Watch the clip below.


Points. Were. Made.

Be sure to check back at noon to watch the full interview. 

Get more scoop from Mo’Nique’s “Club Shay Shay” interview!

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Xaviera Bryant is the CEO and Founder of Ice Cream Conversations. She's a self-made entrepreneur with over 13 years of experience as an entertainment writer with integrity...and a sense of humor.
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