Now Go Ahead and Live!

Written by | Miscellaneous

Mo’Nique is one of the funniest women in show business, but she has also proven herself a serious actress and ally to the gay community.

By Jeffrey James Keyes

Comedian-turned-multimedia-powerhouse Mo’Nique has written a best-selling book, performed on a wide variety of TV programs, and won an Academy Award for her daring performance in Precious. In her new film, Blackbird, she plays the mother of a young singer struggling with his sexuality and the judgment of others while coming of age in a small Southern Baptist community.

METROSOURCE: Hey, Mo’Nique, I’m so glad I got to watch Blackbird last night. Congratulations!

MO’NIQUE: Thank you, brother. We appreciate that.

What made you want to help tell this kind of story?

We’re hoping that when people walk away from this movie they’re free to say [who they are] out loud. We’re hoping those mommies and daddies that are fighting to love their babies will understand how to love their baby through something that they had no control over. … We’re hoping people walk away with a sense of openness and a willingness to love each other through this journey called life and will allow each other to be free — who we’re made to be.

Do you remember the first time someone came out to you personally?

Yes, I do. We were in Washington, D.C., and he brought over jerk chicken from the Pepper Pot across the street from Howard University. We’re sitting down and getting ready to eat this chicken, and he says, “I just want you to know something because I can’t do this anymore. I like the boys and the boys like me.” I said, “Well I’m glad you said it. Can you please pass me the rest of those beans and rice?” [laughs] He asked if I was upset, and I told him I was proud of him for saying it out loud — now go ahead and live!

As a longtime ally of the community, do you think society should have already moved past the point where gay issues can cause so much division?

Well, I believe it’s moving forward, but we have to keep in mind it was just about 50 years ago when it was illegal for people who were two different colors to get married. That went on for years until some white folks and black folks got together and said, “This no longer makes sense.” … My children can’t imagine that. By the time they have their children, they’ll say to them, “Do you know there was a time when it was illegal for two people of the same sex to get married?” And [those kids] will say “What?!” We’re hoping that we’re moving towards that.

Mo’Nique, this is our Pride Issue. What does Pride mean for you?

Freedom, openness — with no apology. Taking pride in who you are with no apology.

It has been an honor speaking with you.

Thank you, baby! Let’s make Blackbird not just a movie, but a movement.

Last modified: July 27, 2017