Academy Award nominated actress, comedienne, and late night talk show host Mo'Nique recently made waves when singer Miki Howard appeared on her BET talk show.
Howard, the "Love Under New Managment" hit maker brought up the gay community as it relates to the church -- and bringing up the late Rev. James Cleveland who was closeted but known to be gay, which is the story for many in the black church. Howard said, "One good thing that I really wanted to talk about in the book is the gay aspect of church that we don't talk about in our community. I grew up in the James Cleveland church and it was really gay." Howard continued, "We didn’t know that people thought that was bad. We didn’t know that outsiders thought that was bad."
Monique added a message to her fans:
"To all of our gay brothas watching, we love you this is the no judgment zone. You are always welcome and you are always loved. If you're in the church and you're gay, God is not judging you. Be who you wanna be."
Mo'Nique has been a long time supporter of the gay community as well as an advocate of AIDS awareness. Journalist Clay Cane sat down with the actress for Advocate Magazine.
From the Advocate:
Advocate: Why is it important for you to be inclusive?
Mo'Nique: Because love conquers all. Who you choose to live your life with — that’s not my concern, nor is it my business. I think we should just love each other as human beings. We get caught up in the foolishness. I believe if we would just start loving each other as human beings, we would be in a much better position.
Advocate: Recently on your talk show you had R&B singer Miki Howard as a guest. Both of you said you grew up with gay people in church and there wasn’t anything wrong with it. That was so refreshing to hear. Could you elaborate on your experiences with gays in the church?
Mo'Nique: I actually was not a person that grew up in church — that’s what Miki was saying and I was agreeing. Now, I know a lot of folks that go to church and are gay. I tell them, “God don’t make no mistakes, baby, and we keep using it when it’s convenient.” If we are all made in his image, there are no mistakes. I think it’s absolute foolishness, just in my humble opinion, when people make statements like, “It’s blasphemy and you’re going to hell!” Really? And I’m a child of God — do you think God set me up? I’ve never bought in to it. With gays and church, I think there are so many of our brothers and sisters that’s in pain because they go to a place to receive nurturing, the love of God, and you start hearing that you’re going to hell because of who you were made to be. I just don’t buy that!
Advocate: I interviewed Lee Daniels in September and he said he feels very much alone in the black community being openly gay. We know not all black folks are homophobic, but what do you think it will take for some sectors of the black community to have a shift in consciousness when it comes to the gay community?
Mo'Nique: Love. That’s it; there is no special formula. People that have a platform, if they start speaking about love — we are creatures that latch on, may it be negative or positive. So imagine that if in all of the black churches they started saying, “Let’s love each other unconditionally. Let’s not judge.” That’s it! You can have members be openly gay! Not “Well, we think Troy is gay, but you know! Yes, he switches, but we’re not gonna say nothing!”
...To all of my gay babies, free yourself. Be free to be who you are, and watch how life works out for you. With no apologies!
I love Mo'Nique for always being honest, open, and unafraid to step on toes. It's nice to see people addressing these issues on a stage where it can be seen by those who need the message. As the Advocate pointed out, some stars only stand up for the GLBT when they have a gay audience. I'm glad that Mo'Nique is not one of those.
[Check of the FULL Piece at Advocate's Website HERE]
[Check out Clay Cane's BLOG HERE]