Oscar-winning actress Mo’Nique has defiantly doubled down on her controversial comments about black women who wear bonnets and head scarves in public, insisting that she was coming from a ‘place of love’ and warning that she will not be ‘canceled’ by online critics.
The 53-year-old took to Instagram to defend herself against a bitter backlash that was sparked when she hit out at the ‘young sisters’ she had seen wearing head coverings pajamas, slippers and blankets during a recent trip to the airport in Atlanta.
‘As we begin to walk through the airport, I saw so many, actually too many to count… but I saw so many of our young sisters in head bonnets, scarves, slippers, pajamas, blankets wrapped around them – and this is how they are showing up to the airport,’ she said in her original video.
Mo’Nique, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2009 for her role in Precious, went on to accuse the women she had seen of having no ‘pride’ in themselves, asking: ‘When did we step away from, “Let me make sure I’m presentable when I leave my home. Let me make sure I’m representing the family I created. So that if I’m out on the street, I look like I have pride in myself”?
Doubling down: Oscar-winning actress Mo’Nique has defended herself after facing bitter backlash for telling black women not to wear bonnets and head scarves in public
Hitting back: The 53-year-old comedian hit back at critics in a recent Instagram video, insisting that she will not be ‘canceled’ and that she made her comments ‘from a place of love’
Controversy: Mo’Nique took to Instagram recently to lambast ‘young sisters’ she had seen at the airport in Atlanta wearing bonnets, head scarves, pajamas and slippers in public
Warning: She suggested that women wearing bonnets and these kinds of outfits demonstrates to others that they have no pride in themselves
While the comedian insisted that her comments were not being made ‘from a place of judgment’, her video sparked outrage online, with many slamming her for lecturing other black women on what they can and can’t wear in public – while also pointing out that a person’s outward appearance doesn’t reflect the pride they feel in themselves.
Others accused her of trying to ‘police black women’, with one commenter lambasting Mo’Nique for criticizing anyone who is ‘going the extra length to continue to care for their hair by wearing a bonnet’.
Some also pointed out the irony in the fact that Mo’Nique was making comments about other black women’s appearances, while herself dressed in a very casual bathrobe.
‘Like this this satire?’ one person questioned. ‘You’re literally in robe, no bra, hair not done talking to the PUBLIC about presentation? Please tell me this is a joke and you’re trying to prove a point.’
Mo’Nique was also slammed for trying to encourage black women to ‘conform to white culture and society’ by restricting what they are able to wear in public.
Bonnets and head scarves are traditionally worn by black women to protect their natural hair, particularly at night, and they have a rich history and significance within black culture.
But despite the furious response to her video, the actress defiantly stood by her controversial comments, posting a second clip in which she not only defended herself, but also insisted that she will not allow any criticism to stop her from speaking out.
Cultural significance: Bonnets and head scarves are traditionally used to protect the natural hair, particularly at night, and they have a rich history within black culture (stock images)
Examples: She specifically referenced women she had seen wearing head coverings at the airport (stock image) but noted that she’d also seen the trend at the mall
At odds: Some commenters suggested it was ironic that Mo’Nique was trying to ‘police’ other black women’s appearances while herself dressed in a bathrobe
‘For you babies that have taken offense to what I said, I’m okay with that,’ she said.
‘I’m okay with you all being in your feelings about it. I’m okay with that because when you love somebody for real, I know you all will get over that.
‘And when you all say, “We will cancel your a**,” well, they’ve tried that, and I’m still here to let you all know I love you and ain’t nothing you can do about that.’
Defiant: The actress, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2009 for her role in Precious, warned that others have tried to ‘cancel’ her in the past but have always failed
The on-screen star, who launched a lawsuit again Netflix for discrimination in 2019, explained that she was simply trying to share advice with other women by ‘tapping’ them, something that she is grateful to have experienced from two people in her life in the past: Patti LaBelle and Margaret Avery.
Neither woman, she noted, attempted to sugar coat their words, insisting that she was appreciative of their bluntness because it helped them to have the desired impact on her life.
‘Patti LaBelle had to tap me one night when we were getting ready to do a show and I was in my feelings over some s*** and that woman had to come tap me and tell me to get myself together,’ she explained.
‘And she didn’t tell me with lollipop kisses and pancakes with syrup all over, she told me what I really needed to hear. And I was grateful for that that night because it impacted my life.’
Mo’Nique continued: ‘Miss Margaret Avery, I was grateful the night she called my dressing room and she said to me, “Baby, focus on getting some more of that weight off of you because I see what you’re doing.”
‘And I’m glad that those two women loved me enough that they would go out of their way to talk to me in a way that aunties, mommas, big sisters, talk to their little sisters, nieces, grandbabies, daughters. I was grateful for that because it allowed me to think about things differently.’
She continued by pointing out that black women have fought for their right to proudly wear their natural hair, questioning why anyone would then want to cover that up.
‘Remember the time when we were raising hell because they didn’t want us to wear our natural hair, they didn’t want us to do the things we wanted to do with our natural beauty, now why ever would you block it?’ Mo’Nique said, before adding that she will