Actress Mo’Nique Hicks, who won an Academy Award in 2010 for her role in the film Precious and said in February she had been “blackballed” by the film industry, is now comparing her struggles with those of Martin Luther King Jr.
In a wide-ranging interview with TheWrap, Mo’Nique explained the events that led to her blacklisting, and offered some insight. The actress has not been offered a major role since Precious, which, according to her, is unrelated to her alleged difficulty to work with, as has been previously reported.
Hicks now asserts she was never being difficult but simply maintained high career standards after her Oscar win.
“When you win an Academy Award, what do you believe that the award is supposed to do?” she asked TheWrap. “Should it elevate your career financially?”
So, when we get offers that appear as if I just got off the Greyhound bus and just got to Hollywood and we say, ‘Well, can we get what’s fair?’ That’s gonna appear overly aggressive if they [studios and production companies] are not used to people saying, ‘Can you just give us what’s fair.’
Hicks then said she believes if wage inequality is hurting white actresses, it must be exacerbating her career plunge because of her race, and likened her struggles to those of the civil rights movement:
When you hear my sisters Gwyneth Paltrow and Patricia Arquette, who happen to be white women, and they say, ‘Can we have wage equality in Hollywood?’ Well, if there are white women saying that, what do you think we’re getting?
So, it makes us smile to the universe when we hear, ‘He’s overly aggressive,’ because we’re asking for fair. That’s the same thing some people said about Dr. Martin Luther King. He was ‘overly aggressive’ because he was simply asking to be treated fairly,” she explained. “Some people said the same thing about Muhammad Ali because he said, ‘I will not go fight in the war when those people have done nothing to me.’
She finished, saying, “by no means am I comparing myself to those amazing people.”
Precious director Lee Daniels issued a statement on the direction of Mo’Nique’s career last month and insisted that her temperament is to blame for her difficulty in finding meaningful roles.
He told the Hollywood Reporter:
Mo’nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community. I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on. However, the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles.
Mo’Nique will star in the upcoming independent film Blackbird, which premieres in April.