Diahann Carroll was the star and protagonist within the hit series Julia (1968). In acting in the role of a registered nurse, she served as the first black person to play a non-stereotypical role on television. However, while she exemplified a pivotal character within the series, she was treated unfairly in comparison to her white castmates. During her time within the 90s hit series A Different World, Diahann explains that while on set, that was the first time she was treated with such reverence and saw firsthand her sacrifices manifested. She watched as young black actresses and actors joked and existed freely within the space. Many of the regulars on the cast had their own parking space and many other luxuries, but few understood the privilege that they were afforded because of her sacrifice. Diahann Carroll explained that in her past she wasn't even allowed on the lot, but now her people have their own lot.
Diahann Carroll's sacrifice paved the way for shows such as The Cosby Show, A Different World, Good Times, and many more to follow. Monique's argument is that your actions matter. What do you want your legacy's foundation to be rooted in?One rooted in integrity and honesty, or lies and exploitation. Monique also argues that we do not have to accept the scraps, simply because we are grateful to have a spot at the table.
"Club Shay Shay is restoring attention spans all of 2024" is the top comment of the 2 hour and 55 minute interview between Shannon Sharpe and Monique Coleman. In watching the interview twice in its entirety, Club Shay Shay is the space of truth. While Shannon Sharpe is not a licensed therapist, his objective line of questioning is similar to those of a helper within a therapeutic session. Many of us are witnessing the power and liberation of truth. All of Club Shay Shay's episodes post the Katt William's interview are about "saying names or keeping it on the playground" as Monique so eloquently stated during her Breakfast Club Interview.
Monique argues that we are often expected to receive abuse with a smile. This idea makes me think about the poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. "We wear the mask that grins and lies."
We Wear The Mask
We are conditioned to believe that we must uplift and never speak out against other black people because unfortunately we are seen as a singular entity. There can only be one, and we must uplift that one. Monique described Tyler Perry and Kevin Hart with the term Juggernaut. Before the interview, this was an unfamiliarity, however a Juggernaut is defined as "a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution." We often place our people onto pedestals and turn a blink-eye to blatant character flaws and their ill treatment towards others. As seen through Bill Cosby. Most refused to believe that Black America's favorite tv dad was a serial offender.
The poverty mindset and crabs in a barrel slavery mentality runs deep and through Monique's interview we must check our own moral compass, but also critique the world around us. The full interview was full of gems, but here are the key takeaways.
Key Takeaways from the 'Mo'Nique on Hollywood' Club Shay Shay Interview:
- You enable poor behavior when you don't tell the truth.
- "Never chase a lie." - Shannon Sharpe's Grandmother
- We are too busy shaming the messenger and miss the message.
- Be clear about what you really want out of life. Monique states, "I didn't know to say I wanted to be wealthy with the fame" when addressing her desire for fame.
- Fix your wrongs or don't include others in them, because then they feel obligated to make it right.
- Just because it isn't currently happening to you, doesn't mean that it can't or won't ever happen to you.
- Don't count out the remedial students.
- What do you believe? Monique shares that the information she being taught was not adding up. She says, "teaching me about the Boston tea party and my people are at the bottom of the ship" did not make sense to her.
- "We've been taught to take care of your family, but there's some families that deserve it and those that you have to say 'i'm so glad that we've had this time together' and that's it."
- "We've been taught to say that trauma is okay" and to swallow the pain.
- People have a problem with truth-tellers because they shatter the illusion.
- "Most of us die before our turn comes." In reference to a comment made by Taraji P. Henson. Monique also addressed the constant moving of the goal post and the false hope instilled into black actors and actresses.
- "If we start taking things for what they [were] and get out of our emotions, we would be so far along."
- "Punishment is not only meant for the perpetrator, but to deter others from the act."
- Don't back pedal, stand on the truth!
- Avoid placing people on pedestals
- A lie and a rumor can destroy someone's life. Therefore, before you decide to spread it, make sure your facts are straight.
- Talk ill about someone in private, make sure your apology has the same energy when it's brought to the public.
- You cannot run from the truth and then attempt to dictate how someone else decides to share their side of the story.
- Asking for what you know you deserve is not being difficult.
- It is what it is, until someone decides that it is until it isn't. (Let this one marinate a bit.)
- "What is a joke to you, is death to someone else."
- "We don't care about your title, we care about your character."
- "It's not how many times you say 'yes', it's about how many times you've said 'no'."
- Once someone gives you the apology, it is up to you to determine what you do with it.
- You cannot use childhood trauma to validate poor behavior in adulthood.
- Step outside of the victim mentality and heal.
- "Stand in it and stand strong unapologetically."
- "How do you take advice from a man who has no woman?"
- "Just keep watching, I'm promoting life."
In closing, Monique's story never swayed in the midst of the naysayers. Stand in truth and force others rise to the occasion.