For the past few weeks, my social media platforms have been on fire with memes as Mo’Nique — a veteran comedian, Academy Award-winning performer, New York Times bestselling author, and iconic fat Black woman from Baltimore — courageously fights back against the racial and gender pay gap epidemic in Hollywood.
Personally, Mo’Nique has been (and will remain) one of my favorite comedians of all time. As a dark-skinned, fat Black girl from Columbus, Ohio — who was raised by a beautiful, dark-skinned, fat and Black mother — I will never forget seeing Mo’Nique on my television for the first time as Nicki Parker in The Parkers. I saw my future self in her and she felt refreshingly familiar. My love for Mo’Nique was solidified when she opened the 2004 BET awards as its first Black woman host, with a gang of big beautiful women, as they performed Beyoncé’s first solo hit, “Crazy in Love.”
Mo’Nique’s resume is impressive. Her success in the very white and very male comedic and movie industry is undeniable. A simple IMDb “Mo’Nique” search illustrates that the comedian was in damn near every Black movie and TV show created throughout Black television’s heyday.
Whether Mo’Nique is likeable isn’t important when we’re talking about Black women not being paid what they are owed. Whether you work in the entertainment industry, as a domestic worker, or as a community grassroots organizer, most — if not all — Black women are being underpaid for doing the exact same work as their non-Black woman peers.