Comedians and former EBONY cover co-stars Mo’Nique and Steve Harvey, sat down on Harvey’s talk show, Steve, to discuss the wife and mother’s career, being blackballed and how their own friendship was affected by drama surrounding the Oscar winner.
The comic explained she believed she was blackballed in Hollywood because she wasn’t afraid to tell Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels “no.” She refused to embark on a publicity tour for Daniels’ film Precious without additional pay.
Mo’Nique claimed she was especially hurt by the backlash because all three individuals and Harvey himself told her behind the scenes she had done nothing wrong.
“Each one of you said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’re not wrong,’” the actress told Harvey. “And when I heard you go on the air and say, ‘My sister burned too many bridges, and it’s nothing I can do for her now,’ Steve, do you know how hurt I was?”
Harvey responded that he had no problem with his fellow comic airing her grievances with the industry, but he thought she’d gone about it the wrong way.
“I felt you had done yourself a disservice by the way you chose to go about it,” Harvey replied, giving the example of Mo telling Winfrey, Perry and Lee to “suck her d*ck” onstage.
The stand-up defended the move, saying she’d never compromise her comedy routine to make others more comfortable. For her, the main issue remains that Harvey and others lent her their support privately but not publicly.
Harvey then explained that, as Black people within the industry, truth can often have repercussions. Because of that, Black celebrities must be more strategic in how they confront their issues or risk going without a paycheck.
Harvey and Mo’Nique went back and forth over the importance of integrity vs. financial security, and the Think Like a Man author ultimately said he could never compromise his family’s stability for the sake of integrity.
Watch the discussion below.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.