Oscar winner Mo’Nique blasted Hollywood’s struggle to embrace diversity in an interview with HuffPost Live on Tuesday.
The comedian and actress received critical praise for her role as the abusive Mary Lee Johnston in the film Precious and won numerous awards including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Last year, she received rave reviews for her performance as Ma Rainey in the HBO biopic “Bessie” and earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
Mo’Nique told HuffPo that Hollywood only allows one black actor in the spotlight at a time.
“Why is it that it can only be just one?” she asked. “Normally, when it comes to people of color, it can only be just one that gets in. When there was Sidney Poitier, who else was there? Then there was Denzel Washington, then it was Will Smith. And we always want to know, who’s going to be the next?”
“We never say, ‘Who’s going to be the next Matt Damon?’ because there’s George Clooney. We never say, ‘Who’s going to be the next George Clooney?’ because there’s Tom Hanks. We never say who’s going to be the next [of] those people because there’s an abundance, but when it comes to people of color, you’ll see that there’s normally just one or two and that’s it.”
Mo’Nique said the racial issue in Hollywood goes beyond award shows. She wants people of color to be paid the same about as their white counterparts. The actress urges film executives to stop “paying people based on the color of their skin.”
“Can we get the paychecks to go along with it? And no one seems to be saying that out loud,” she said. “It’s, ‘Let’s get more diversity! Let’s get more women! Let’s get it!’ … But can we get the income that comes along with it?”