Independent Journal

Mo’Nique Praises Taraji P. Henson, Recalls Her Own Fight for Equal Pay

Mo’Nique, the Oscar-winning actress and comedian, has expressed her support for Taraji P. Henson, who recently spoke out about the pay gap between Black and white women in Hollywood.

Mo'Nique Praises Taraji P. Henson, Recalls Her Own Fight for Equal Pay
Image: Club Shay Shay (YouTube)/ Harrison (Instagram)

In an interview with Club Shay Shay host Shannon Sharpe, Mo’Nique said she was glad that Henson was making headlines about the issue, but also reminded the audience that she had been raising awareness about it for over a decade.

Mo’Nique recalled a conversation she had with Henson ten years ago, when they were both nominated for Oscars for their roles in “Precious” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, respectively. She said Henson told her to keep working until her turn comes, while she urged her to demand fair treatment right away.

“I said, ‘Sis, if you don’t get your money now, you’re never going to get it,'” Mo’Nique said. “Because what happens is, when you get to be 50, they’re going to tell you you’re too old. When you get to be 40, they’re going to tell you you’re too old. When you get to be 30, they’re going to tell you you’re too old.”

Mo’Nique also shared her experiences of being “blackballed” by the industry after she refused to participate in the promotion of “Precious” without compensation. She said she faced backlash from influential figures like Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels, and Tyler Perry, who were involved in the production of the film.

She suggested that her comments may not have received as much attention as Henson’s because of the societal perceptions of her as a Black woman, especially regarding her outspokenness and naming specific individuals.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh, Mo’Nique, she’s difficult. She’s this, she’s that.’ No, I’m a Black woman that won’t tap dance. I’m a Black woman that’s not afraid to say your name,” she said.

Mo’Nique also addressed the tensions between Henson and Winfrey, who had a public feud in 2015 over the latter’s involvement in a biopic about Henson’s late father. She expressed skepticism about their public statements denying any issues between them and suggested that Henson’s gratitude towards Winfrey may have been influenced by power dynamics within the industry.

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“I love my sister. That’s my sister. But when I watched that interview, and I saw the pain in my sister’s eyes, and then I saw the gratitude towards Oprah Winfrey, I understood it,” Mo’Nique said. “Because what happens is, when you’re in a position where you feel like, ‘If this woman says something bad about me, it could affect my career,’ you have to show gratitude.”

Mo’Nique said she hoped that Henson’s remarks would inspire more Black women in Hollywood to speak up and demand equal pay and respect. She said she was proud of Henson for being a “better messenger” for the cause, and that she would always stand by her side.

“I’m going to say this to you, Taraji P. Henson: You keep on fighting, baby. You keep on fighting. And I’m going to keep on fighting with you,” Mo’Nique said.

Watch Full Interview Here

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