Name: Mo’Nique, 55
Bio: After her brother encouraged her to step onto the stage at a comedy open mic night in 1988, Mo’Nique’s first set went well enough to convince her to give stand-up a try. She soon established herself and gradually climbed the showbiz ladder, with memorable appearances on Def Comedy Jam and BET’s Comicview.
Displaying a commanding presence on stage, Mo’Nique started acting. She parlayed a guest spot on Moesha into a starring role on the UPN sitcom, The Parkers.
At the same time, her stand-up star continued to rise. Mo’Nique joined the Queens of Comedy Tour, and her experiences culminated in a concert film.
Mo’Nique’s decades in the business eventually paid off when she took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as an abusive mother in 2009’s Precious, making her the first cast member of Soul Plane to win an Oscar.
Following a protracted fight and lawsuit with Netflix, Mo’Nique settled and released a new special on the platform this year, My Name is Mo’Nique, which included a surprise Easter egg…
Coming Out: For a stand-up comedian, there can be nothing more exhilarating, perilous, or cathartic like coming out on stage. It’s one of the most empowering ways to take ownership of your story, but at the same time, you also have no idea how the crowd will react.
On top of everything else, while you’re pouring your heart out and sharing your most vulnerable moment, you better be funny.
Now, add in being an Oscar-winning entertainer famous enough to be known by one name, and you have some idea of the stakes for Mo’Nique. During her new special, she came out to the world as part of the LGBTQ+ community, sharing the story of how she told her husband she was attracted to women.
Then, Mo’Nique told the crowd about a night she was laying in bed next to her husband, and experiencing a massive insomnia attack. Her secret sexual desires were causing her to spiral.
“I’m laying in that bed so scared because this is my third husband,” she said.
In a masterful display of connecting with a crowd, Mo’Nique fought back tears as she continued her story.
“I said, ‘Daddy’— and my heart was racing so fast because this was the first time I was getting ready to say it out loud to anybody — I said, ‘Daddy, I wanna be with another woman sexually.’
“And he looked at me so beautifully and so patient and so loving and said, ‘Bitch, me too!’”
Then she included the kicker.
“He said, ‘You find that bitch and we will fuck that bitch together!’”
The audience was in stitches. For Mo’Nique, it was mission accomplished. She didn’t follow the suggested affirmations from PFLAG’s “When Someone Comes Out” Guide, but she accomplished the job.
Mo’Nique’s coming out was news as soon as the special was released. Although she insisted she is not a lesbian— “[not] all the way” — she is now a famous face in the LGBTQ+ community.
In an interview with Vulture, she said she was tired of living in fear.
Instead, she wanted to be free.
“What made me do it? It’s just time. It’s time for us to live in freedom,” she said. So many of us are still enslaved. So many of us are still fearful. So many of us are still ashamed. Once you get to a place of freedom, you truly start living.”
That’s something all LGBTQ+ folx can relate to, whether they’re famous or not.