On Wednesday (Feb. 13), Mo’Nique and Steve Harvey engaged in a debate on the latter’s daytime talk show that aimed to address how black entertainers maneuver in Hollywood and Mo’Nique’s fight for equality within the industry. The Oscar-winning actress/comedian has previously stated her controversial encounters with a few powerhouse leaders, expanding upon that statement during part one of her conversation with Harvey.
“I’ve said no to some very powerful people,” Mo’Nique stated, listing people like Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels and film conglomerate Lionsgate as those that she has declined in the past. “The difficulty came in when people that look like me, like Oprah, Tyler, Lee Daniels, and I got to put my brother Steve on the list, y’all knew I was not wrong. Each one of you said to me, ‘Mo’Nique you’re not wrong,’ and when I heard you go on the air and you said that my sister done burned too many bridges and there’s nothing I can do for her now, Steve do you know how hurt I was?”
Harvey countered that by stating he felt the comedian approached the various situations the wrong way and she has done herself a “disservice by the way you chose to go about it.” He added that the Netflix situation wasn’t an issue in calling for a boycott, but a “point of action” for the people was never administered in terms of reserving their dollars from the streaming service.
Harvey then said the narrative shifted from the moment Mo’Nique said Winfrey, Daniels, and Perry can “suck my d**k if I had one.”
“When you tell the truth, you have to deal with the repercussions of the truth,” Harvey said. “We’re black out here. We can’t come out here and do it any kind of way we want to. Your husband can’t be the Sidney that he really is out here. That flexing, we got to flex a different way. This is the money game. This ain’t the black man’s game, this ain’t the white man’s game. This is the money game. We’re in the money game and you cannot sacrifice yourself. The best thing you can do for poor people is not be one of them. You cannot help them like that.”
Mo’Nique then added, “Before the money game it’s called the integrity game and we’ve lost the integrity worrying about the money.” Harvey then interjected to note that if he sacrifices his career in order to take a stand, others such as his family will be at risk. “If I crumble, my children crumble, my grandchildren crumble. I cannot, for the sake of my integrity, stand up here and let everybody that’s counting on me crumble so I can make a statement,” he said. “There are ways to win the war in a different way.”
Watch part one of the discourse below.