Mo’Nique: Just Doing What’s Right
BY Winston Gieseke
May 13 2011 9:00 AM ET
Actress and comedienne Mo’Nique is no stranger to achievement awards. For her riveting portrayal of Mary Jones in 2009’s Precious, she won not only an Oscar, but a BAFTA, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and prestigious critic prizes at festivals from San Francisco to Stockholm. She’s also best-selling author, prolific stand-up comedy hostess, and thanks to her self-titled BET talk show, her Oxygen special Mo’Nique’s F.A.T. Chance, and a five-year stint on UPN’s The Parkers, she has more NAACP Image Awards than she can hold.
Tomorrow night, the outspoken gay rights supporter will be honored with an Ally For Equity Award at the Human Rights Campaign’s gala dinner and auction in Atlanta, where The Mo’Nique Show is filmed. And while she’s extremely grateful for the recognition, she admits to having been initially thrown by the concept of receiving an award simply for standing up on behalf of equality.
The Advocate: Congratulations on your HRC award.
Mo'Nique: Thank you, baby!
Last year, your accolades were about Precious. How does it feel to be honored this year for your humanitarianism?
It makes me go, “Really?” Because I never set out for that honor. It was just a matter of treating people the way I wanted to be treated and doing what I know is right. So, when a community of people says “We want to honor you” — just for doing it the way it’s supposed to be done, it makes me go, “Wow.” I’m really grateful. You know what I mean?
Yes, you’re getting an award for something you didn’t realize was award-worthy.
Right! I think we should all be that way. We should all be getting that type of award.
What was your first experience with gay people?
When I was about 16, I had a really good friend named Rodney. And he would take me to gay clubs. And the first time I went to a gay club, I didn’t know that I was going to a gay club and this woman asked me to dance — and they had to escort me out of there that night, because I didn’t know what was going on, baby! I was young! I really didn’t know.
But by now you know that gay folks dig you, right?
Yes, there’s a mutual affection there. There’s something very special about the connection between a gay man and a fat black woman. I think that because we’ve both been the underdog — or we’ve both been in this place of trying to be accepted and loved — that we gravitated to each other.
What is your relationship with the gay community in Atlanta?
Baby, they’re my children! They are my babies. And not just the Atlanta gay community, but every community. We should all be embracing each other. But as for my brothers and sisters that happen to be gay, I embrace them as they’ve embraced me. With no judgment.