Taraji P. Henson’s The Color Purple confessions about conditions on set have everybody talking, and Mo’Nique entered the chat to call out Oprah amid her storied history of issues with the media mogul.
Fans and industry insiders alike pointed fingers at different people behind the blockbuster film’s lackluster accommodations for the stars. Some blame day-to-day producers and production managers. Others accused the studio, Warner Bros., of shortchanging the Black cast members.
In an exclusive interview with The Root, Mo’Nique says her collaborator-turned-enemy Oprah Winfrey is ultimately responsible. She weighed in on Taraji’s comments about filming The Color Purple and how the industry systematically mistreats Black women.
As BOSSIP previously reported, the cast joined Oprah in shutting down speculation about the mogul’s responsibility for the substandard conditions. On the Golden Globes red carpet, Oprah addressed the rumors about a possible feud brewing.
“Taraji will tell you herself that I’ve been the greatest champion of this film,” Oprah told Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier.
“Championing not only the behind the scenes projection but also everything that everybody needed. So whenever I heard that there was something that someone needed, I’m not in charge of the budget because that’s Warner Brothers you know that’s the way the studio system works.”
Oprah went on to explain that she did her job as an executive producer. In fact, she claimed she saved the day when the cast called out problems on set.
“Whenever I heard there was an issue or there was a problem, there was a problem with a cars or the problem with their food, I would step in and do whatever I could to make it right. And I believe that she would even vouch for that and say that is true,” she continued.
However, Mo’Nique wasn’t buying it. She claimed the fact that Oprah could personally resolve these issues was proof she wasn’t standing on business from the start.
“Everything was, ‘Didn’t I champion for y’all?’ I was like, ‘Stop it. You didn’t champion for those Black women, for our sisters,” Mo’Nique fired back.
“What [she] did was, ‘We can treat them like we always treat them, who gon’ check me boo? I’m Oprah Winfrey.’ You know everything should have been done when you showed up…Now when you hear our beautiful sisters saying, ‘yeah but it got fixed,’ it’s like we’re making it worse.”
The Oscar winner pointed out that someone who knows the way the “system works,” like Oprah, wouldn’t have her name on a project with Taraji’s complaints. The Shug Avery actress called out a lack of decent trailers, food and drivers to get the cast to set safely.
“So, when Oprah Winfrey sits at the helm and Taraji P. Henson says, ‘It’s an honor that we were hand-picked for this movie,’ Well, if they were hand-picked for that movie, those women should have been taken care of from the moment go,” Mo’Nique continued.
Her husband and long-time manager Sidney Hicks chimed in, ” What Oprah fixed should have already been prepared when they got there. You shouldn’t have to fix that because it should have already been done.”
“Oprah got caught. That’s what happened,” Mo’Nique said doubling down on her decades of criticism.
See what Mo’Nique said about The Color Purple controversy vindicating the same message that got her “blackballed” after the flip!
Mo’Nique Says The World Embraced Taraji Differently, But Their Message Remains The Same: “We Don’t Want To Hear The Message Though It Might Be True”
Many noted that Taraji’s comments about disparity in pay and opportunities despite a long, critically acclaimed career sounded familiar. Mo’Nique accused Oprah, Precious director Lee Daniels, and Tyler Perry of “blackballing” her for making the same observations. However, the comedian says the public revelation is better late than never.
“We’re in the phase of people catching up to what it really is. If the messenger is not what we think the messenger should look like, we don’t want to hear the message though it might be true,” Mo’Nique said.
Taraji claimed her pay remained stagnant despite Oscar nominations and starring in Oscar-winning films. Mo’Nique similarly reported she had to start over after winning the prestigious award.
Mo’Nique said she reached out to Taraji directly online to offer support. It “pained” the outspoken star to see a “beautiful soul” like Taraji struggling the way she has for years.
Vivica A. Fox seemingly undermined Taraji’s plight for Black actresses, saying she can’t relate.
“I am very happy I didn’t have that experience. I love my girls for looking out for each other, but I’m good,” Vivica told TMZ.
Many questioned how Vivica could be so good with even less consistency, quality, and likely pay, as the veteran continues to work. Mo’Nique looked at the questionable comment with love because she saw the “fear” that inspired it.
“Remember when I came out and said, ‘this is not right?’ Fear is real. It’s like, ‘I don’t want to get beat,'” she said.
“We don’t begrudge individuals for their fear, but the true fear should be what’s going to happen to us in the long run if I don’t speak up,” her husband continued.
Mo’Nique added that people aren’t just more receptive to a different messenger. Like many bold Black women, she thinks people care more about policing her tone and delivery than addressing what she has to say.
“Humbly, it was easier for our community to accept a broken Black woman. And we saw Taraji be broken and bent over and crying,” she continued.
“It’s hard for our community to accept a Black woman that has a strong Black man by her side saying [this treatment is] unacceptable.
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