Oscar-award winner and comedian Mo’Nique has long been a vocal advocate for a more inclusive, fair experience for those working in Hollywood, speaking up about her experiences with unequal pay as an African American actress. As more of her colleagues join the #OscarsSoWhite conversation, Mo’Nique told Variety that the struggle is greater than an award. “To focus on a trophy, we totally miss the point,” she said. “The focus should be on the paychecks and the unequal wages. Anytime you hear Patricia Arquette and Gwyneth Paltrow, when you hear those white women say, ‘We’re not getting equal wages.’ Well if they are saying it, what do you think we’re getting?”
In 2009, Mo’Nique won the hotly-debated Oscar for her role in Precious, for which she was paid $50,000 outright (with a backend) on a film that grossed $47.5 million in the United States and was told she was “blackballed” by Hollywood for negotiating for higher pay after the win. “Myself and Gabourey Sidibe, we should have become multi-millionaires off that movie, had we been given the right information. We weren’t given the right information,” Mo’Nique told Variety. “If you’re not given the right information, it doesn’t allow you to negotiate fairly.”
When asked who profited from the rest of the millions went, Mo’Nique replied, “Someone did, my love. Can you please call them and ask them where it is?”
Read the full conversation at Variety.