I wasn’t going to say anything but…..I can’t help but notice the amount of press comedienne Mo’Nique is getting after announcing that she was once up for the role of Cookie on Fox’s mega-hit television series “Empire”. While out promoting her new movie, “Blackbird” she seems to be telling anyone who dares to ask a question about it. So much so that it might be overshadowing the release of the movie. What’s the movie even about? I’m sure she talks about it in her interviews but the media outlets aren’t running the clips about that. Or at least I haven’t seen them. They are talking about the drama but the movie does get a brief mention.
The public doesn’t know what was discussed in the infancy of “Empire”. Perhaps the producer, Lee Daniels, always had Mo’Nique in mind for the role of Cookie. He possibly even had another vision for the character’s behavior and then somewhere along the way the powers that be said think sexier, sassier, younger, or someone with more star power. I don’t know but I don’t think Mo’Nique is lying about being up for the role. Yet, after seeing Taraji P. Henson portray the first lady of Empire Records no one can deny that she owns that part. I just can’t imagine Mo’Nique and Terrance Howard getting it on in the studio. The chemistry between he and Taraji is so hot it could boil water and illuminate the room simultaneously. I don’t know why Mo’Nique decided to reveal that information now. Perhaps, it was to start a buzz around her as she promotes her new role. Maybe it was to dispel the rumors about her being blackballed by Hollywood or hard to work with. I don’t think discussing those missed opportunities makes her look mad or bitter like others have said. She is very humble in every interview she has done. Yet, she does seem disappointed. It’s as if she’s telling Hollywood to stop offering her those great high profile roles in movies like “The Butler” (Mo’Nique claims she was offered the role that eventually went to Oprah Winfrey) and TV shows like “Empire” and then snatching them away before she ever gets to the set. Perhaps Lee Daniels needs to wait until he is ready for her to sign a contract and no changes can be made before he calls Mo’Nique and offers her a part or at least offer her another place in the production. I don’t know. TV isn’t my area of expertise but I’m sure that nothing he has done was meant to be malicious or intentionally hurt her. However, Hollywood are you listening? Mo’Nique wants to go to work. She’s extremely talented. You probably should use her more.
Life is full of disappointments. Some are harder to swallow than others. I’ll share one of mine. It’s no secret that I used to work in radio. Well, back when BET’s teen music show “106 and Park” was a great show one of the co-hosts, Free, was about to get her own weekend radio countdown show. Yep, she was about to be the black female Casey Kasem. A great feat for a black female. Well, I had done some writing for radio’s legendary syndicated production the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” and was telling anybody that would listen that I wanted to do more radio writing. The producer of Free’s upcoming show called me and offered me the job as writer for the show. Unfortunately, before we even got to the conversation about compensation Free and her co-host, AJ, were fired from “106 & Park”. Subsequently, with the whole reason anyone knew who she was being gone, the radio show was cancelled. When the producer told me the news I was beyond distraught and I cried so hard that I had to leave work early. I just knew that show was going to be my BIG break! I was gone move on up like the George and Weezie Jefferson baby! I never got a chance to solidify myself as a top-notch syndicated radio writer. My time with Tom Joyner’s weekend segment “Right Back At Cha” was the only shot I got and I will forever be grateful for it. It’s one of my greatest career achievements. I hate the show with Free never happened but guess what? I’m okay. I don’t write for radio anymore but I have released three novels and one book of short stories. People tell me that they’re pretty good.
Mo’Nique is going to be okay, too. She has a lot to be proud of in her career. Afterall, she is one of the original Queens of Comedy and an Oscar and Golden Globe winning actress. She is one of the few black women to have her own late night talk show. I truly believe more is coming but she has to let go of what happened in the past and focus on the future. Those roles are gone. There’s no turning back. The role that is meant for Mo’Nique and only Mo’Nique is going to come along and she’s going to blow audiences away in her portrayal of her character. Ms. Mo’Nique, you are a beautiful and talented Nubian queen and what God has for you is for you and can’t nobody take it from you. Ask and watch our Heavenly Father work his magic. I’m cheering for you!
Share with me about one of your biggest disappointments and be sure to tell my how you bounced back.
Jae Henderson is an author, blogger, voice over artist, speaker and founder of http://www.imagoodwoman.com. Learn more about her latest book, “Things Every Good Woman Should Know, Volume 1” at www.jaehendersonauthor.com.