One of the most genuine and blessed people I have ever had the honor of speaking with, Academy Award-winner Mo’Nique is about to debut one of the most innocently powerful movies ever to hit the film industry: “Blackbird.”
Mo’Nique has visited nearly every type of genre the world of entertainment has to offer, from stand-up comedy to serious dramatic roles to hosting her own late-night talk show to theater. Besides starring in “Blackbird,” she has also produced along with her husband, Sidney Hicks, this revolutionary, ground-breaking movie, which promises to astound audiences everywhere and perhaps change the way parents of gay children view their situation.
“Blackbird” stars Mo’Nique, Isaiah Washington and introduces Julian Walker as Randy. Under the brilliant direction of Patrik-Ian Polk, “Blackbird” is an extremely sensitive film concerning the coming out and coming of age of a black, gay youth growing up the midst of a religious, American, small-town environment. The soundtrack and vocals in the film are nothing short of amazing as well. Acquired by RJ Entertainment, owned by Bob Johnson, founder of BET Networks, “Blackbird” is scheduled for theatrical release on April 24, 2015.
Among some of Mo’Nique’s vast array of credits are her role as Nikki Parker in the UPN series “The Parkers”; hosting “The Mo’Nique Show”; starring on stage in “The Vagina Monologues”; appearances on TV shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show”; as well as a slew of film credits, including her Oscar-winning role in “Precious.”
Speaking with Mo’Nique was a very spiritual experience. She displayed a candid and caring sensitivity toward her personal life, her role in “Blackbird” and toward humanity in general. I found her to be a unique, special, warm and loving person!
First of all, I am so in love with this movie and your role in the movie.
What about this film inspired you to not only star in it but to produce it as well?
Well to executive produce with my husband Sidney, and to have real ownership of our image and likeness, will be out there forever. I actually play the character—we all know her! I know those mothers and those fathers that have a real hard time loving their babies for who they are. I’ve seen it up close and personal. What we’re hoping with this, Eileen, is that people will walk away with being able to accept who they are and accepting others for who they are and loving each other through this journey called life.
Did you have a favorite scene in the film?
Oh, Eileen, that’s a good one. OK, so, I’m going to say this scene was more challenging for Julian. It was the scene where I had to slap him in his face! Well, I’m not a professional stunt person, so I don’t know how to fake slap.
Do you feel that being black in the gay community differs from anyone else gay?
There was a time I did feel that way. There was a time I felt the black gay story was just the black gay story, just within the community. However, when we took “Blackbird” to the festivals in different areas of the country, and you’ve got every color of beings coming up to you and saying, “I am Randy Rousseau, that was my story”—that was the white gay man, the Asian gay man, the Latin gay man, the black gay man. “That was my story.” So I don’t believe this story is unique to the black community.
The book that inspired the movie took place 30 years ago. Do you think conditions have improved since then when referring to a gay person coming out and to straight people’s view of gay people?
You gotta know at one time, to say it out loud, that wasn’t popular to do. To say it out loud could be dangerous to your life. I think that there are some improvements. Do we have a long way to go? YES! We have a long way to go as human beings treating each other well. That seems to be a problem with us. We just pick out the issues that we want to pick out. It may be gay, it may be black, it may be women, but the moment we as a human race can treat each other good on purpose, watch what could happen.
You have had so many achievements. You’re an actress, a comedian, a producer, you’ve been in theater, on television, you’re an ordained minister…
Only when I’m doing weddings.
You’re also a mom, a wife. Is there anything that you haven’t achieved that you still dream of doing?
Eileen, I’m gonna share this with you.
You know what I wanna do?
I wanna be a cabaret singer.
I love that. I think you would be amazing.
Listen. You know, my husband Sidney and I, we’ve been best friends since the tenth grade, since we were 14 years old. I can remember one day being up on the balcony in high school and saying to him, “One day we’re gonna be stars,” and he said, “You first.” Now, to be in a place in life, everything I’ve ever asked for I’ve been given—everything! So to say what is it that I wanna do that I haven’t done yet, for me to want more, I think the universe would say, “Really? Cause everything you’ve asked for, I’ve given you.” And the most important thing is I wanted to be a wife and a mommy. Now, the first shot I got at being a mommy, I was chasing fame, I was trying to be in all these places, so my son that’s in his 20s, our relationship is strained. Well, I asked if I could have children again, [and] the universe blessed me with three more children, and I asked the universe, “Can I please be a wife again?” Because the first [time] I didn’t understand how to be a wife, cause I was trying to be famous. So to receive those blessings and those prayers to be answered, I’m grateful for what I’ve been given, right now in life. I’ve been given everything I’ve ever asked for.
You seem like the ultimate independent woman. Were you always independent, or did that just evolve through your profession?
I appreciate being called an independent woman; however, I don’t wanna be that independent woman. I’m so grateful to have an amazing partner in this man named Sidney Hicks. I’m so grateful to be a wife and a mommy. I think when we get caught up about being the “independent woman,” we wanna be so independent that we forget that we have husbands, we forget that we are mommies because we’re so independent. I would raise my arms up and show my muscles and say, “I am woman, hear me roar,” but I kept finding out I was lonely when I did that. You could be independent, but you’ll be by your damn self. I’m independently proud to say I love being a wife and a mommy. I love that this movie…is under our production company, Hicks Media Productions, which is Mo’Nique and Sidney, kids that met each other in high school. We have a part of putting that up on the big screen. So I’m independently proud to say that I don’t have to be this independent woman on my own. I love being a teammate.
What kind of message do you hope to bring forth with this film?
Acceptance. We hope [for] acceptance and to love each other in a way that we have never loved before and allowing people to be who they were made to be. We’re really hoping that when they get up and walk out of the theater that they’re holding hand in hand with their baby that is gay, but they just couldn’t come out and say it out loud. We’ll hope that they will squeeze that baby’s hand even tighter and whisper in their ear, “I’ve got you.” That’s what we’re hoping, that people understand that word called faith, because that woman had faith that was undeniable. When everybody though that that little girl was dead and gone, that woman kept saying, “No, no, no, no, no.” We’re hoping that people walk away with an openness in their heart.