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Mo’Nique: “Let’s open up and talk”

Oscar-winning actress Mo’Nique made the press rounds this week to support her new movie “Blackbird,” starring Isaiah Washington, Kevin Allesee, Gary L. Gray, Nikki Jane, Torrey Laamar, Terrell Tilford, D. Woods – and Julian Walker, who stars as the central character, 17-year-old Randy.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

She and her husband Sidney Hicks are serving as executive producers.

Here’s the trailer:

Mo’Nique also has made headlines in recent months with her very outspoken comments about being “blacklisted” in Hollywood following her Academy Award-winning role in “Precious.”

She began her acceptance speech with, “First, I would like to thank the Academy for showing it can be about the performance and not about the politics.” That apparently didn’t go over so well and Mo’Nique said she got a reputation for being “difficult.”

Here’s that clip, including an introduction by the late Robin Williams, who introduced that category the year she won:

Afterward director Lee Daniels told CNN’s Don Lemon, “Sometimes artists get in their own way.”

Today Mo’Nique is paving her own way with “Blackbird.” The indie opens April 24 in limited release. Atlanta theaters currently on the distribution list are AMC Phipps Plaza and AMC Southlake Pavilion.

“When you’re doing independent films you don’t have a lot of time and money to redo this and retake that,” she said. “We were surrounded by these young, talented actors who were unafraid to give it all.”

The movie’s plot, about a teen struggling to accept himself, in some ways parallels her own narrative of dealing with the aftermath of honesty.

“When people say to me, ‘You’re so straightforward,’ my response is, ‘Are you not?’ When did honesty ever become a secret?,” she said. “I don’t know any other way to be. We speak of Hollywood like it’s this magical, mysterious place. It’s just a place, made up of people.”

 Similarly, she hopes the movie “Blackbird” will inspire frank dialogue.

“We hope people will choose to be what they had no choice in being,” she said. “The hope is that when you leave that movie you are unafraid to have that real conversation. Let’s open up and talk.”

Coming up next month, Mo’Nique will be seen in the HBO movie “Bessie,” which filmed in Atlanta. It stars Queen Latifah in the title role; Mo’Nique plays Ma Rainey.

Here’s the trailer:

“I had the most amazing opportunity,” she said. “I remember the first time I saw Queen Latifah. I was in high school.  She is truly Bessie Smith. She embodies that woman.”

And what else is Mo’Nique up to?

“Life! I’m up to life. I’m excited to be with my husband and children, checking homework and having dinner,” she said. “The best part of my life is I enjoy being Mrs. Hicks.”


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