It doesn’t matter how much we plead. How much we point out the harm. Y’all insist that there be a cookout. You’ve handed out invites. You blithely break bread with people who are literally and figuratively eating off the culture you claim. You shrug and dismiss it.
Then, Gary Owen (one of BET’s candidates for the mytical, honorary Black Card) decides to take a swipe at Mo’Nique. And some of y’all still aint mad.
Owens, in a post that ridicules both Mo’Nique and to a lesser extent, Télémundo, made an absurd analogy (that misfires on any stretch of comedy) that he too had suffered discrimination – as a white man of privilege– because he pitched a special to the Spanish-speaking network and was denied, “because I don’t speak Spanish.” He then extends his crocodille-tear-filled plea to explain that he can learn Spanish. He already has the opening and the closing of his act figured out! ” ‘Hola’ and ‘Gracias, adios,’ ” Yeah, comedy gold.
Owens’s intent is to poke fun at Mo’Nique’s rationale for her boycott – his post implies that her reasoning is completely absurd and that she was as foolish to ask for more money as he would be demanding a special on a network focused on Spanish-speaking persons. This is, of course, bullshit.
Mo’Nique is a comedy veteran with an extensive resume who was approached by the streaming service and insultingly lowballed. Owens is a parasitic culture vulture with a long history of small venue gigs who scored a development deal with a Black network. And Netflix is a streaming service with racially and culturally diverse programming while Télémundo is a network that rightfully and intentionally centers Latinx views. The only way that comparison works, if Mo’Nique had approached Netflix demanding something she wasn’t capable of carrying, and if he’s suggesting Netflix is white only. And maybe that’s how he feels.
Now, we can argue about whether or not Mo’Nique’s call for a Netflix boycott is legit. But what we not gonna do – or should at the very least not stand for – is a white, male comedian who has made his entire career leeching from Black culture and exploiting his wife’s Blackness to grant him a “plus one” into our culture, chastising, ridiculing and mocking the sincere efforts of one of our own.
Interestingly, Owens’s post ends with hashtags that indicate that he’s “only joking” including #ILoveNetflix, but no mention of love or respect for Mo’Nique. He’s protecting his paper, but not his people…oh..wait.
Gary isn’t our folk. He does a good job at regurgitating what he’s bitten off us but he aint in the kitchen. At what point do we have enough self-love, or pride in one another to demand that some shit remain family business? How is it that we are comfortable to let someone who is here on a guest-pass shit on family?
And this isn’t a call to boycott Gary Owen. There’s really no point in that (half of y’all are Googled him before reading this) This is a call to wake tf up and recognize that its really a matter of time before all these invitees to this infernal cookout start to takeover the conversation and ruin the event for the organizers.
“You’ve got to learn to leave the table, When love’s no longer being served.” ~ Nina Simone
And they aint never loved us. This is what you get when you sacrifice a seat at your table to them, because you can’t get one at theirs. They’ll eat up all your food and ridicule the flavor.
When they start talking that shit – get up from the table. Leave. Leave them standing there in the Black space that claimed and carve out new space.
Or do like sis in this video, take your space back.