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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

When Did Integrity Leave The Building?

Last week, Monique appeared on the Steve Harvey show to not only promote her recent Las Vegas residency, but to hash out a disagreement between the two regarding the way she handled her Netflix negotiations and claims that she’d been blackballed in the industry.

Steve referred to Netflix’s lowballing as “rich people problems.” They also discussed the infamous moment when Mo’Nique went off onstage, while performing a comedy show, telling Oprah Winfrey and Lee Daniels to “suck my d*ck!”

In addition to pleading Mo’Nique to play the game the way it is intended to be played, Steve noted such confrontational actions could affect their legacy.

“If I crumble, my children crumble, my grandchildren crumble!” Steve said. “I cannot, for the sake of my integrity, stand up here and let everybody that’s counting on me crumble, so I can make a statement.”

Mo’Nique reiterated how her main issue with Steve, Oprah and Lee revolved around their private conversations contradicting with what they were publicly stating. According to her, they all told her she “did nothing wrong.” Steve Harvey held his ground regarding how differently black folks have to move.

“Your husband can’t be the Sidney that he really is out here!” Steve stated. “That flexin’—we’ve got to flex a different way. This the money game, this ain’t the black man’s game, this ain’t the white man’s game, it’s the money game.”

The condescension was unsettling, considering the fact the two are basically peers in comedy. Steve sunk his teeth deep into respectability politics, pointing out how Hollywood would be “nothing” without “us,” yet, in the same breath, basically requesting that Mo’Nique shuck and jive in the name of “the game.”

It was a real conversation to say the least. However, I must admit that I cringed at what Steve said to Mo’Nique. The message was to take your integrity off the table to secure the bag. Hmm… really Steve?

As I’ve said before, I like Steve as a comedian but he has no business giving advice, particularly to women. The few minutes he took preaching to Mo’Nique spoke volumes about who he is as a person. It’s clear that he will sell himself out for the coin.

Steve pointed out how Mo’Nique’s contention with Netflix’s lowballing was “rich people problems.” Actually, it speaks to a much larger conversation. Mo’Nique’s fight is for equality, but will that rain down to working people like you and me who experience it (and have been experiencing it), too?

You would hope the larger issue would have the benefit of a platform via a celebrity figure, but there’s a valid concern that the general public will only care because the affected person is famous.

Mo'Nique has taken to social media to respond to Steve, after their heated discussion with a series of memes and videos. She does have some valid points. She may have had the opportunity to handle these things another way. But she handled them her way. Her fight is not anyone else’s, even if we don’t agree.

For Steve, on national television, to tell her that integrity does not matter in “this game” is disturbing. Well, at least we know where Steve stands and it's not a good look.

Watch Part I and Part II of the interview here.

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