In today’s world, social activism is something that many people have become a part of. Whether it’s women’s rights, LGBT rights, or black rights, it would seem that many more people are willing to take a stand for what they believe in. People from different walks of life are starting to become more vocal as well, whether the person is a student, working class individual, or rich and famous celebrity, and during a time in which division and intolerance is running rampant in America, it is very much needed.
Comedian Monique could have been labeled as a social activist when she called for women, and the black community, to boycott Netflix for alleged gender and racial bias in terms of what they pay certain comedians and actors. However, unlike other calls to boycott certain organizations, Monique’s plea did received a very small amount of support. Not only that, but her call to boycott Netflix also garnered criticisms, scoffs, laughs and side-eyes from most of her target audience. While it’s easy to chalk the unwillingness to get behind Monique’s movement to people wanting to binge-watch new shows (and possibly participate in “Netflix & Chill”), it is bigger and deeper than that.
The first way that Monique went wrong with her call to boycott Netflix was her delivery and the timing of said message. Her call to action came only a few short months after Amy Schumer had already called out Netflix for alleged gender bias for paying Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock more than her. It’s safe to say that not many people took her claims seriously either. In her video, Monique doubled down on Amy Schumer’s claims, but made her an antagonist at the same time. I’m not saying that Monique would have gotten more praise if she directly co-signed Schumer. However, by calling out Netflix for gender bias, then in the same breath accusing Netflix of racial bias for paying Amy Schumer more, it seemed more like she was flip-flopping between issues instead of being a serious advocate for either cause. It’s difficult for people to take Monique’s call to boycott seriously when it’s hard to decipher whether she’s for or against Schumer. Basically, it seems as though Monique is saying “I’m going to stand by you and your agenda, but I’m also going to work against you for my own agenda as well.”
It’s also safe to say that Monique was wrong to include Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock in the first place. Yes, Monique has been in the comedy game for a long time, either as long or nearly as long as both of her male counterparts. However, looking at both Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock’s credit’s, in stand up, television and film, shows a huge difference in popularity, starring roles, and self produced work. However, the comparison of works is only the surface of the issue. Of course, Monique did deserve more than what Netflix paid her, but it feels more like Monique was throwing her two fellow comedians under the bus rather than speaking up for women, and here is why.
When looking at Chris Rock’s portfolio, you will see a number of films and television projects that were written, directed and/or produced by the comedian himself. These films mostly featured predominantly black casts. These films often featured relatively new actors and comedians who were not considered A-list celebrities at the time. Chris Rock even made a documentary exposing the hair care industry and how it affects the black community, and calling for young black girls to appreciate their natural beauty, before being natural became the cool “woke” trend for people to brag about. On top of that, Chris Rock has on multiple occasions spoken out about issues that black people face in America, both on stage during his routines and in moments of seriousness. I’m not saying that we should all bow down to praise Lord Rock for all he done. I’m not even saying that these things make him immune to criticism. However, Chris Rock has done more than enough to show that he is down for the culture, and this is what makes it confusing when Monique decides to mention him and Dave Chappelle is confusing at the least.
Even more confusing was her appearance on The Breakfast Club, or rather what she said the Charlamagne Da God. Right before leaving the studio, Monique told Charlamagne “We have to explain brothers like you.”, insinuating that the radio was a sellout, or “coon”, for calling her out. Although it was a spicy moment that provided plenty of talk online, it does more damage to Monique’s plight. She insinuates that Charlamagne is a sellout for disagreeing with her because she was calling out racial bias, but at the same time, she was throwing two black males under the bus as well. While it’s completely understandable that black women do indeed face discrimination and are paid less than both black men and white women, it just doesn’t seem genuine for Monique to call out Netflix for gender bias on account of two black males receiving bigger paydays, then at the same time say that someone is a sellout for not agreeing with her because she also mentioned racial bias.
All of this isn’t to say that Monique didn’t deserve more money, because she certainly did. This isn’t to say that racial and gender bias doesn’t exist, because it certainly does. However, the way that Monique went about it, and the way that she reacted to people disagreeing with her, makes it seem more like she’s calling out Netflix for her own disappointment instead of having a genuine concern for the plight of black female comedians and actors who feature their work on the platform. I’m not saying that this is definitely the case, but by flipping between issues, without being willing to have dialogue on either of the issues to further explain where she is coming from is what may be ultimately causing more harm than good to her cause.