Mo’Nique has has one of the more controversial months in her career this year, when she told the media Lee Daniels said she was being ‘blackballed’ by Hollywood. Then she said she’d been cast in both The Butler and Empire when both Daniels and Empire producer Danny Strong said she hadn’t.
Precious co-star Gabourey Sibide is believed to have referenced her in a oblique tweet about the ‘unselfishness’ of the cast of the movie. So who’s telling the truth? Well, as they say, there is his side, her side and the truth. But one thing we do know for sure is that Mo’Nique is back. She’s starring in her own production Blackbird out April 24th and in HBO’s Bessie as Ma Rainey to Queen Latifah’s Bessie Smith on May 16th.
So how did the one-time standup comic transition to Oscar-winning dramatic roles?
“I”m playing,” Mo’Nique says. “I’m a kid playing. Remember when you were a kid playing, you didn’t judge it. You just did it,” she says.
In her new film Blackbird, she’s the mother of a young man who is trying to come to terms with his sexuality or rather, his homosexuality. Isaiah Washington plays the young man’s father, who is supportive of his efforts to be himself.
“We believe this is one of those films that will open up hearts and change minds and give you a different perspective on how you should be treating other human beings,” says Mo’Nique. She scoffs at talk of another Oscar, because she says that she’s working for more than just the accolades.
“The rewards come in when our young babies, when our parents when our church folks come in and say ‘I never thought about it that way. I never saw the damage that was being done that way. That’s the reward. If a mother or father says we’re going to change our mind on how we treat our baby, on how we’re going to accept our children into our churches. So never for an award. The reward is that the someone walks away feeling differently, feeling a different kind of love.”
Mo’Nique’s husband and business partner Sidney Hicks (pictured) has earned his share of criticism as well but produced the movie with his wife, which Mo’Nique says was a natural process for the couple.
“We’ve been best friends since the 10th grade,” Mo’Nique says. “We’ve been roommates, we’ve been used to being together. Us transitioning into business partners and executive producing this film, it’s been a pleasure and an honor.”
As for whether or not she was shaded by Sibide, Mo’Nique says this: “I hope my baby is doing absolutely wonderful. That young lady is so full of talent. When I got to do that movie with that special young woman, on that movie, I was blown away after every scene. To work with someone or to play with someone that’s never done it before, y’all saw it, she was breathtaking.”
For tickets and cities where the movie Blackbird is showing on April 24, click HERE.