Mo’Nique has a message for all the “queens” out there wearing bonnets at airports, but not everyone is feeling the unsolicited advice.
On Saturday, the comedian and actress shared a video message to Black women asking them to stop wearing bonnets, slippers and pajamas in public spaces.
“It took me a minute to say what I’m getting ready to say because I want to make sure I’m not saying it from a place of judgment and that I’m saying it from a place of love,” Mo’Nique told her one million Instagram followers. “Some of y’all have given me the title of auntie, and I’m honored that y’all do that. But there are times that auntie has to talk to her babies and say some real shit.”
The entertainer shared that while she was traveling to Jackson, Mississippi for a gig, she was astounded by how many “young sistas” she saw wearing “head bonnets, scarfs, slippers pajamas, [and] blankets wrapped around them” at the airport.
“I’ve been seeing it not just at the airport. I’ve been seeing it at the store, at the mall … ” Mo’Nique said, adding “When did we lose our pride in representing ourselves? When did we slip away of let me make sure I’m presentable when I leave my home?”
While she made it clear she wasn’t suggesting that women always wear a “full face of makeup” or a lacefront when out in public, she emphasized, “All I’m saying is could you please comb your hair?”
“I’m not saying you don’t have pride but the representation that you’re showing someone will have to ask you to know if you have it,” she added. “It’s not to get a man … it is just your representation of you, my sweet babies.”
Mo’Nique told women to take her message as a “warning,” as she vowed to step in if she happened to see them “in the streets, in the airports, in the Walmart and you got a bonnet on and you got slippers on and you looking like what the f*ck.”
“Auntie Nikki ‘gon tap you and say, ‘Hey baby girl, show you what you’re worth, show you what you deserve.”
Mo’Nique also urged “wiser sistas” to join her in correcting what she sees as not representing themselves with pride.
“That may be a part of us helping our community, because if you look like you don’t give a damn, how you gonna be treated?” said Mo’Nique.
“So when I say hey, Queen, I can only say it to the sistas that it belongs to. Because a lot of us are still in queen training. So if you’re in queen training stop being fearful of taking your position,” she added. “Queens don’t walk around in bonnets, and head scarfs and slippers and pajamas. That’s for the house. When you go outside, represent you, baby .. like you are worthy and you deserve the title of ‘Hey, Queen.’”
Mo’Nique’s video garnered a lot of comments and plenty of opinions, particularly those who felt her message was cloaked in respectability politics.
“This was such a disappointment. Imagine women growing up watching you be loud, curse, grab your crotch and make heinous jokes just for you to turn around and police women for wearing a bonnet?” one person wrote in a lengthy comment.
“How is it that you can’t address women as queens based on how they’re dressed, but you expect corporations to pay you fairly with complete disregard to some of your previous actions on stage and in public? … Out of everything going on in the world, you choose to police women of color, specially [sic] black women, for being comfortable in public and you call this being a Queen?
She added, “I was a little lost at why a lot of people stopped following you over the years, but I clearly understand now. This was extremely anti-black, misogynistic and ignorant. If you know better, do better. I just can not believe the same women who did nothing besides body shame skinny women, talk about d*ck and had an entire series dedicated to harassing a black man has the audacity to police another black woman on appropriate behavior.”
Another commentator, who actually agreed with her, accused Mo’Nique of hypocrisy for wearing a bathrobe in her video message.
Despite the many comments scolding the Academy Award-winning actress for her comments, there were many others who applauded her for it.
“She’s right! I’m sure some of this perspective is age,” said one of her followers. “The look is not cute. No, you don’t have to dress up to go to the airport. I sure as hell don’t. But I’m not looking so bad that I hope no one sees me. And I’m looking good enough so that if someone does see me, even if they don’t like what I’m wearing or they don’t like how I look, they know I’m representing. I’m representing us. And I’m doing it well.”
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