The uphill struggle for women of color in the entertainment industry in regards to racial and gender discrimination.
In recent revelations of how power and privilege work in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, Netflix and Mo’nique have come to dispute over the pay gap in which she was to receive if she had agreed to do a comedy special with the online streaming service Netflix.
Here is where the situation gets sticky Mo’nique was offered a $500,000 deal to do a Netflix comedy special. Now, to an average joe this seems like a substantial amount of money even to a comedy rookie, but this is Mo’Nique we are talking about here. Mo’nique has received 46 awards including TV and film work and has been a legendary black female entertainer with sellout comedy shows across the nation.
Putting this situation into perspective however Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle both received $20 million for their specials and Amy Schumer received $11 million before going public back in August 2017 about the pay gap between her, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle and then receiving $2 million more in a re-negotiation.
Even the Director of Original Standup Comedy Programming at Netflix, Robbie Praw in negotiations said,“and Mo’Nique is a legend”. Now that is interesting because comedy greats such as Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Amy Schumer all receive the same title as an ‘A’ list legend and to be given the same credit from the Director of Standup Comedy Programming at Netflix, but then to be presented an offer of less than is flabbergasting and dare to even say a slap in the face.
That $500,000 was based off of what Netflix felt would be the anticipation and credit to Mo’Nique after the special would be available for streaming. So Netflix tried to play the, we are not sure how much a black leading woman will make so to be safe we are going to throw a bone and see if she will take it. Irregardless of the fall out of her, Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry, and Oprah after speculation of a black ball incident regarding Mo’Nique’s willingness to go on an international tour for the movie without receiving pay for ‘Precious’ back in 2009.
This is of in no way disrespect to Amy Schumer and her brand but as a woman and a feminist who claims to be a huge champion for women’s rights and equality she has the power to speak out publicly and say this is wrong but instead she has remained silent on the issue. Of course we could go down the rabbit hole of self proclaimed feminist white women never coming to a black women’s defense when the lines between right and wrong are very clear, but in an industry which has taken so long to recognize and come to terms with it’s dark past of sexual assault and misconduct in the workplace when they can’t hurt people physically they can take away your livelihood.
Mo’Nique later said in regards to Oprah Winfrey’s speech given at the 2018 Golden Globes where Hollywood wore all black to support #TimesUp movement was, “That night it was a very emotional speech but black women have to say when do you speak up for us? See hashtag Oprah Winfrey black women need the support from white women like you too because without it you see what happens. So we must speak up and we must speak out”, and history has shown this from Josephine Baker to Ertha Kitt, Lena Horne to Vanessa Williams to Janet Jackson and many more.