Black Balled

This week comedian Monique caused quite a buzz when footage from her stand-up performance at the Apollo Theatre went viral after she spoke about her being "black balled" in Hollywood. She specifically called out Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey for not standing by her when this issue arose. Monique further elaborated on her issues with all three media moguls on her pod cast Open Marriage. All her issues began around her Academy Award nomination for Precious.

Once an actor is awarded an Academy Award it is an automatic pay raise. Monique stated that offers for other projects were coming in, but the financial offers were equal or lesser than the her regular pay rate. Once she began requesting her just pay, she was labeled as being "difficult" for making "unreasonable demands". Is demanding equal or fair pay truly unreasonable? Although it it goes on unacknowledged, it's no secret that actors of color don't receive financial compensation equal to their white counterparts. When Jill Marie Jones of the hit show Girlfriends requested a pay increase, she was released from the show. When Taraji P. Henson filmed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which she received an Academy Award nomination, she had to cover her own travel and lodging expenses.

Monique also details on her podcast that Lee Daniels was displeased with her declining to make an appearance in Cannes to promote Precious. Monique recalls that she declined so that she could spend a little time with her family after completing a comedy tour, filming other projects, and meeting her promotional obligations for Precious. In hindsight, it's understandable that anyone would want to spend time with their spouse and children after being away from them for months on end, but in showbusiness when the big wigs call, you must answer and all else falls by the way side. You have to play the game. Once Monique was labeled as "difficult to work with", her booming career went bust really quickly. It's sad that things took such a nasty turn in her career, but Monique continues to move her career forward through comedy tours, her podcast and she continues to work in film with directors that she has maintained a relationship with.

There was a time in Hollywood where your career was over if you crossed the wrong person and that stigma still exists, but thanks to the internet, there is a way to get around that. Achieving mainstream success in Hollywood is extremely difficult as is. Ruffling the wrong feathers makes it that much more difficult so if you're going to play the game, know that you have to play by the rules.


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