Why Mo’Nique Was “Blackballed” After Her Oscar Win


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Mo’Nique’s interview with The Hollywood Reporter is filled with interesting tidbits: reflections on Robin Williams;
her deep connection to Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to
win an Oscar; and more. But the topic on everyone’s lips is Mo’Nique‘s
claim that Lee Daniels told her she has been “blackballed” in
Hollywood, and that’s why she hasn’t scored major roles since her Oscar
win for Lee’s movie Precious in 2010. “I got a phone call from Lee Daniels maybe six or seven months ago,” she explained. “And he said to me, ‘Mo’Nique,
you’ve been blackballed.’ And I said, ‘I’ve been blackballed? Why have I
been blackballed?’ And he said, ‘Because you didn’t play the game.’ And
I said, ‘Well, what game is that?’ And he gave me no response.” In the
discussion that follows, Mo’Nique actually suggests why she’s been shut
out of roles, although the chat raises more questions than it answers.
Keep reading to discover the reasons why her claim is confusing.

  1. According to Mo’Nique, Lee told her money was part of the issue: ” .
    . . [He said to me], ‘Your husband is outbidding you.’ But he never
    asked me what [salary] we were asking for.”
  2. However, Mo’Nique also made it clear that independence with
    projects is important to her: “You know, my husband [actor and producer
    Sidney Hicks] and I had to change things so we wouldn’t have to depend
    on [others]. So we do it independently. We’re very proud of taking the
    independent route, and we have a movie coming out on April 24 called Blackbird.”
  3. The actress surmises that people might think she’s too difficult to
    work with: “There have been people that have said, Mo’Nique, she can be
    difficult. Mo’Nique and her husband can be difficult.” They could
    probably be right. One of the networks said to [Lee] that I was “really
    difficult to work with.” And I said, “Well, that’s funny, because I’ve
    never even worked with them, but OK.'”
  4. Even though she’s been “blackballed,” Mo’Nique has still had
    discussions about parts in Lee’s recent projects: “Well, actually, I was
    offered the role in The Butler that Oprah Winfrey played. I was also approached by Empire to be on Empire.
    And I was also offered the role as Richard Pryor’s grandmother in
    [Daniels’s upcoming Pryor biopic]. Each of those things that he offered
    me was taken off the table. (Laughs.) They all just went away. But
    that’s just part of the business, you know? I can’t be upset at anybody,
    ’cause life is too good. It’s just what it is.”
  5. Mo’Nique said Lee was the one who reached out to her with roles:
    “For each of the roles, [Lee] called me. He’s always approached me
    first, and I’m appreciative of it, because I think he is one of the most
    brilliant visionaries in writing and directing.”
  6. And yet Lee suggests that hiring Mo’Nique is out of his control:
    “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.”

In the comments section below, tell us — which part of this story confuses you the most?

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