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LG Perspectives: Costs of being a LOUD Girl – Mo’Nique edition

“Sometimes you have to forego doing what’s popular, in order to do what’s right.” ~Mo’Nique, Best Supporting Actress for Precious at 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010)

LOUD Girl Movement heavily and regularly encourages Black women and girls to use their voices to speak their truth, speak up for the voiceless and to speak up for what is right. By definition, that’s who we are.

In one of her recent comedy shows, Comedian and Award-winning Actress Mo’Nique aired some unresolved issues about her (non)working relationships with Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels and Tyler Perry, that resulted after the making of the award-winning film Precious (2009). Her experience crossed our LOUD Girl radar after “The Real’s” Adrienne Bailon attempted to throw shade by indirectly referring to Mo’Nique as “loud and boisterous” for airing her grievances in her own unique way.

No matter how glam being a LOUD Girl can be (oh yes, its absolutely glamorous to us!), Mo’Nique’s experience – detailed in a recent episode of her podcast “Mo’Nique and Sidney’s Open Relationship” – shows the serious costs associated with speaking the truth and always being the one to stand up for what is right. This brings us to the topic of this post: The Four costs of being a LOUD Girl – via Mo’Nique’s experience…

Cost 1: Character Assassination

When Black women and girls address any issues of wrongdoing or demand equal treatment, we are always labeled as irate, angry or difficult. This is an attempt to silence us and demolish our character and credibility so that no one will listen. But when our white counterparts (ahem: Patricia Arquette) make the same demands, they are somehow considered heroes.

According to Mo’Nique, the production team did just that by publicly labeling her as “difficult” for her having gotten them together about their treatment of Actress Gabourey Sidibe – who was young talent at that time – in regard to travel standards and makeup for the Cannes Film Festival; and, for not working outside of her contract to actively campaign for an Oscar Award, an action later referred to by Daniels as “part of the game” [of securing an Oscar].

Cost 2: Livelihood

Mo’Nique told Tyler Perry that after they had labeled her that way her family took a hit financially and that no one wants to work with someone whose name is preceded by “difficult.” She mentioned that even though she was still being offered parts, people were unwilling to pay her what she was truly worth – which at that time would have been upwards of $7 million per film since she is an Academy-Award winning actress – and continued to lowball her because they considered working with her and her “ways” as an extra cost.

Cost 3: Always being the truth-bearer

When a person is the truth-bearer, which LOUD Girls are, it’s often contrary to what is considered standard or popular. As a result, folks work to distance themselves so they don’t lose their seat at the table. Perfect example: Mo’Nique’s close friend, Kym Whitley, joined the smear campaign during the conversation with Adrienne by commenting, “She’s the aunt who can’t let it go.”

Cost 4: Emotional Wear & Tear

Dealing with character attacks and silencing – knowing speaking up has affected you and your family’s livelihood – and losing close friends in the process can cause a significant amount of emotional distress; which Mo’Nique also discussed in her podcast.

After all of this, Mo’Nique made it clear that all she ever wanted was for her co-star to be treated fairly, and for her (and other actresses) to be paid fairly for their work, which were both very reasonable and well-deserved demands.

Even though LOUD Girls are the trailblazers, trendsetters and cultural innovators, that we’ve all come to know and love, there are real costs associated with speaking the truth and always being the one to stand up for what is right.

This is not to deter Black women and girls from keeping it LOUD. It’s an acknowledgement that speaking truth to power comes with a price worth its tag because “holding your peace and moving forward” – as Adrienne put it – doesn’t open doors and create future opportunities for other women and girls who look like us.

LaToya English

Editor | LOUD Girl Movement Blog

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