BEVERLY HILLS, CA – OCTOBER 12: Actress Wanda Sykes speaks at Paley Honors in Hollywood: A Gala Celebrating Women in Television at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 12, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
When Mo’Nique called for a boycott of Netflix in response to their lowball offer for her to do a comedy special on their platform, Wanda Sykes was one of the first people to offer support and a word of advice to her fellow comedienne.
In thanking Mo’Nique for speaking out against the streaming giant, Wanda pointed out that while she was equally offended by an offer Netflix presented her — which was even less than the figure given to Mo’Nique — she chose to take her talent to another network that would give her what she deserved, Epix.
While it may seem like a small admission, Wanda actually delivered an extremely valuable lessen for Black women who are routinely undervalued and underpaid: Go where your talent is respected and rewarded. And while we may mainly turn to Wanda for jokes rather than life lessons, it turns out she’s been subtly planting seeds for professional women all throughout her career.
In honor of her 54th birthday today, here’s a look at some of the wise words Wanda Sykes has imparted to women over the years about bettering themselves and handling their business.
I’m here today because I refused to be unhappy. I took a chance.
If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.
I’m a comedian so I’m not waiting around for someone to write a part for me. I don’t have to wait for somebody else to create my next job; I have the ability to basically write my own ticket.
If you’re passionate about your work, it makes the people around you want to be involved too.
It’s not until you develop your own voice, your own persona onstage that you become your own comic, who you really are.
Mostly everything gets worse before it gets better.
I think the most difficult thing about coming out is just getting to that place where you’re comfortable with who you are and you’re sayin’ hey this is ok and just accepting yourself and not caring what other people think. Because if you don’t have that confidence in who you are then, if things don’t go the way you wish that they will, you know if people aren’t accepting then they can easily tear you down if you’re not prepared and comfortable with who you are.
Men don’t hear women.
I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud to be a black woman, and I’m proud to be gay.