It seems comedian and actress Mo’Nique is willing die on a hill called bonnet. Just weeks ago, MadameNoire reported on her respectability politics around wearing bonnets. The Oscar award-winner suggested that the advice she offered came from a place of love and correction and not shaming.
Yet, her actions as of late are a bit suspect.
Tons of people weighed in on Mo’Nique’s stance. Some agreed with her chastisement while others found the comments to be steeped in respectability.
The actress asked Black women, “When did we lose our pride in representing ourselves?” But that begs the question, representing ourselves to whom?
It wasn’t clear if Mo’Nique was asking that we represent better for ourselves or for the approval of white people.
If for ourselves, then pride is certainly subjective. And if for whiteness, the way systematic racism is set up, Black women are still regarded with disdain, even if we’re wearing a ball gown with a foot train.
—and if there is any question about Mo’Nique’s motives before, her latest stunt seemed to illuminate the true nature of her earlier statement.
Over the weekend, the Precious actress shared an image of a Black woman at an airport, wearing short shorts and a bonnet. She captioned the photo:
“Hey BEAUTIFUL QUEENS. NO SHAMING. If this is the BEST YOU CAN DO NO JUDGMENT DO YOU. This was sent to me as an example of what we’re talking about that goes on in our community. However if this is not your BEST, than do BETTER! Being that ultimately the decision either way is yours. I LOVE US 4REAL❤”
Mo’Nique is adamant about the fact that she is not shaming this woman but love doesn’t seek to expose an innocent person for the sake of making a point. Love doesn’t dictate how someone should dress to appease one’s own standards or ideals. Love doesn’t prioritize the opinions of white folks when we’re talking about the appearance and decisions of Black women. Bonnets don’t hurt anyone. Posting a picture of someone in an attempt to embarrass them does. It is mean-spirited behavior, and yet another example of Black women being used as targets by all members of our own community. If anything, that’s a poor representation of ourselves—and not in the face of whiteness, but for other Black people. If Mo’Nique wants to be regarded as auntie and elder who loves us, perhaps she should act like it and get over bonnets for real.