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‘My Name Would Be Melissa McCarthy’: Mo’Nique Says If She Were a White Woman Her Career Would Have Been More Lucrative

Comedic actress Mo’Nique asserts that racial bias is a contributing factor to her exclusion from the top tier of Hollywood, despite her possession of an Oscar. She contrasts her situation with that of her white counterpart Melissa McCarthy, suggesting that despite comparable talent and comedic sensibilities, McCarthy receives offers for top comedy projects while she does not.

Mo’Nique (Picture via YouTube – Screenshot: Club Shay Shay)

During her controversial appearance on Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay” podcast, the “Queen of Comedy” argues that doors are more readily opened for McCarthy due to her white privilege, highlighting a systemic racial disparity in opportunities within the entertainment industry.

Mo’Nique: Race Matters When Making Hollywood Money

“If I was a white woman, do you know what my name would be? Melissa McCarthy,” Mo’Nique said to the former NFL star in the almost three-hour interview. “If I was a white woman, my name would be Melissa McCarthy. Same track record! Five-year sitcom in syndication. The opportunities are not the same.”

Both actresses achieved success on television before transitioning to film. McCarthy starred in the CBS sitcom “Mike and Molly” for six seasons, earning an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. Mo’Nique headlined UPN’s “The Parkers” for five seasons, garnering four NAACP Image Awards for her performance.

In terms of film, McCarthy has appeared in several major big-budget films such as “Spy,” “Ghostbusters,” “St. Vincent,” “The Boss,” and “Superintelligence.” Notably, she earned two Oscar nominations for her performances in “Bridesmaids” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

On the other hand, Mo’Nique has gotten hardly any films with budgets over $15 million. Films that she has had starring roles in are “Almost Christmas,” “Soul Plane,” “Blackbird,” “Steppin: The Movie” and more.

She achieved critical acclaim for her performance in the movie “Precious,” winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her portrayal of an abusive and dysfunctional mother in this Lee Daniels production earned her recognition from various awards bodies, including AFTA Film Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globes, NAACP Image Award, Critic’s Choice Awards, National Society of Film Critics, BET Award, Black Reel Awards, and Spirit Awards.

She also received a Grammy Award nomination and an Emmy nomination for her performance in the HBO movie “Bessie.”

According to Mo’Nique, the caliber of projects offered to her are not only inferior because of her race but also because of her soured relationships with two powerful people in Hollywood: Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.

Her animus against the two has been documented for years. One advocate who has offered her a lifeline is rapper-turned-greenlight gang member Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

After seeing her stand-up, 50 Cent said he was going to help her out and followed up by casting her as Goldie, a crime boss, in the rapper’s popular Starz show “BMF.”

In an interview with radio personality Big Boy, the Queens native talked about speaking to Perry on Mo’Nique’s behalf.

“Like, Monique, why is she canceled,” he asked. “I had to revisit that because it was like it didn’t make sense to me. I’m like what did she do [something you asked?]. She said something you didn’t like? So she didn’t work for 13 years after that?”

“I know Tyler wouldn’t support that,” he continued, explaining his conversation with Perry. “He never told anybody … nobody … not to work with her, and then I said, ‘But you’re Tyler Perry, and you never told anyone to work with her.’”

Perry allegedly said he never thought about it that way.

Those years that Mo’Nique was not working after winning the Oscar consistently are reflected in her estimated net worth of $6 million. McCarthy’s net worth is substantially higher, at an estimated $90 million.

In addition to allegedly being blackballed, the comedian says she was lowballed. She did not stand for it.

In 2018, she and her husband Sidney Hicks urged the Black community to boycott Netflix after the streaming platform offered her a mere $500,000 for a stand-up comedy special. This was in stark contrast to the substantially higher offers received by her counterparts like Amy Schumer, who received $13 million, and comedy legends such as Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle, who were offered $20 million each.

Despite facing backlash, Mo’Nique remained undeterred by criticism, asserting that her advocacy for gender and racial equality was important. Since just a few years ago, she has seen the tides change. More actresses, like Taraji P. Henson, who once advised her to conform to the system and await her turn for significant rewards, are now speaking out about pay disparities.

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