Back in January, social media was in an uproar over comedian, Monique’s request for her fans/supporters to boycott streaming site, Netflix. Her request for a boycott against the streaming giant was in an effort to take a stand on the gender and race inequality that has been affecting her along with many other women of color in the TV and film industry. Monique was mocked and ridiculed for days as she went to various shows standing up her for what she believed in. The Oscar-winning actress and Baltimore native made it public knowledge that she was being low balled and faced bias in comparison to peers like Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.
Last month, Monique was a guest on the talk show, The View where she discussed what was going on and was asked by host and actress, Whoopi Goldberg whether she was requesting the boycott because of not being offered nearly as much as the $13 million Amy Schumer reportedly received from Netlix for her comedy special that didn’t do too well. However, Monique responded that she was doing it on the grounds of racial and gender bias.
When you’re a black woman it’s hard to speak up or get your point across without being perceived as angry or aggressive. You’ll easily be labeled as an “angry black woman” who is hard to work with. Monique has been enduring misogynoir in her effort to articulate and express her frustrations with a discriminatory industry.
I remember watching her Breakfast Club interview where she directly addressed co-host, Charlamange/Lenard who is flagrantly, dismissive and disrespectful to the guest who come onto the radio show throughout the interview. Prior to her appearance, Charlamange deemed Monique “Donkey of the Day” without any real reasons to supplement his decision to ridicule a black woman who is trying to inform people of what’s actually going on in the industry. It was frustrating to watch the interview because she provided all of the hosts with receipts and information to change their preconceived notions and bias towards her situation, but they still played devil’s advocate. Charlamange, DJ Envy and Angela Yee tried to combat every point and example provided with opinion or fact that didn’t hold much weight. I was appalled, but not surprised at the lack of support Yee had for Monique because that’s her usual thing. Yee is just as misogynistic as Charlamagne if not more due to her never really speaking up and simply the lack of respect she has for their guests.
When it comes to gender and racial inequality the proof is in the pudding. We see it every day when we go out into the world. Last year, it was reported that women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. In addition, women’s median annual earnings are $10,800 less than men’s.
As black people, we don’t need any statistics to point the racial inequality we have experienced and endured for years on end. It was disheartening to see so many black people tweet harsh things about Monique to express their lack of support for someone whose accolades reflect nothing, but years of hardwork and talent.
Just last week, Netflix released a trailer for Rachel Dolezal’s documentary, which was interesting to me especially after what has been going on with Monique. Dolezal has so much controversy surrounding her after she revealed that she was a white woman who now identifies as black in 2015.
Dolezal’s situation was nothing short of white privilege. She was interviewed by numerous platforms that were so intrigued by this woman’s identity crisis while failing to recognize the privilege she abused and used to deceive. She embedded herself into the black community seamlessly just because she wanted to be something other than what she was, which she referred to as “transracial.” The Guardian touched on Dolezal’s methods for passing black, which included sunbathing, wearing hairstyles like braids, weaves, dreadlocks and even applying bronzer when her tan started to fade.
As someone with a degree in psychology, it’s more than apparent to me that this woman is experiencing some sort of mental dysphoria or DID (Dissociative identity disorder). Not that I really care, but it seems as though no one has done a psychological evaluation on an adult who claims to be another race. However, that would be too easy to attribute her actions to mental illness. White woman often escape accountability because they’re swiftly labeled as misunderstood or mentally ill so whatever they did is to be considered null and void in the eyes of white America as well as the media. Now that Netflix has given her a documentary about her life she is “troubled” due to her family’s disapproval of it because of the backlash and exploitation of her children. I cringed when I watched the trailer for the documentary. I was irritated and frustrated. Watching her son visibly distressed by this woman he calls his mother who continuously makes poor decisions. Dolezal broke down into tears talking about how difficult it was to go through with the documentary and the strain it’s putting on her family. I felt so empty watching her cry. A woman who consciously made the decision to be “transracial” is in distress over the backlash.
I sat there thinking to myself is this a social experiment or a really bad joke? Check out the trailer below I guess.