The uber-gorgeous and talented Monique Imes-Jackson
We reluctantly gave in to the nagging feeling that we ought to watch -- or at least peek -- at the season finale of SNL this past Saturday (the sad billionaire still really likes the weekend update). We could only watch with one eye, and we tuned in late, so we don't have much to say except that I still hate Coldplay and that all that swirling chatter about Lindsay's dwindling form is pretty accurate. All in all, we found the show to be a big downer. We felt fatigued and empty. ho-hum. We didn't expect anything to knock us out of our stupor, but we kept the TV on anyway. And THEN . . .something amazing happened: Mo'Nique.
We've always liked Showtime at the Apollo. The performances are often firey and sort of rough around the edges, and most shows are a really good mix of established and emerging artists. The fact that it follows SNL is both a blessing and a curse; while "the captive audience" factor likely works in its favor, the fact that it has a later time slot and also a different audience from SNL means that people who might otherwise watch the show regularly might also miss the show regularly. But we digress.
MO'NIQUE, the current host of Showtime, is AMAZING. Seriously, she is one smart and sassy cookie. Not only is she hilarious, but she never ever apologizes for who or how she is. One of the things that makes her so fun to watch is that Monique challenges and critiques the values and aesthetics of the culture in which she performs. In the larger venue of "entertainment," where thinness is increasingly treted as a legitimate commodity and sexist rap lyrics are making a comeback, Monique creates a space that is not only hospitable to women, but also empowering . Honestly, we don't know how any performer could utter a misogynistic lyric in her presence or how any woman -- on stage or in the audiece -- could doubt her own personal wonderfulness for even a second. Here's an excerpt from Mo'Nique's book Skinny Women are Evil:
I really wish I didn't have to write this book, but it appears I have no choice. Especially when BIG girls are still subjected to ridicule simply because we've been blessed with a few extra pounds. It's no secret that I am a BIG girl. Always have been. Always will be. Hell, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could see that. Which means that the only way I'll ever wear a size six, or even a sixteen, is if you add them together. That's right. I wear a size twenty-two. And I'm proud, because I wear it extremely well. I've never had a problem with my doubles -- double chin and double belly. I've also never had a battle with the bulge. Oh, we may have had a few choice
words every now and then, but it was always after some stupid he say/she say bullshit. What I've enjoyed is a lifelong love affair with every roll, every lump, and every curve. And because I love me, I've never felt the need to apologize for being my BIG, BEAUTIFUL self.
Do you see what we mean? Isn't she awesome?! And she's from Baltimore, and we really like that town. AND she's designing a clothing line. If it's anything like the outfits she wears on Showtime, it's gonna be fly. Anyway, we going to go find a copy of Hair Show (a movie that was also written by a team of women). Word.