Op-Ed: Bonnet Blaze
The internet is in a blaze because of Comedian/Actress Mo’Nique’s recent video urging our young beautiful black sisters to reconsider the bonnet and pajamas as outdoor wear. Mo'Nique speaks freely in her video about her recent experience at an airport where she noticed that many of the women, African American specifically were in what she considered to be at home attire only. While she conveyed her message as politely as she could, many took great offense. Mainly, because she chose to do so in a house robe while seemingly having on no bra. The girls on the internet are letting Aunt Mo’Nique have it.
Why is this such a hot topic? Is it because of who is saying it? If it had been the older woman next door or the church mother that pulled you to the side would it have bothered you as much?
There was a time not too long ago that we as African Americans expected one another. We held each other accountable in more ways than our attire. What happened to the days of “I am my brother or sister’s keeper”? The struggles that we as African Americans had to face daily were plentiful by themselves, and we did not need to add to the list of problems by giving them a reason to look down upon us before we even open our mouths. Our skin color spoke for us initially and whether some want to believe it or not, what we wear is a part of that perception. Some will argue they do not, but most people create an idea of a person at first glance, and if they encounter you in a public forum with pajamas and a bonnet, they will likely group you in with a “lower class” of people based on their grading scale.
Mo’Nique did respond in a rebuttal video where she did choose to get dressed this go around. She expressed that she would not and see no reason why she should apologize for loving her sisters enough to tell them the truth. She also stated that she would still love those who refuse to take heed to her advice just as she would love those who will.
Most of those who responded to Mo’Nique could care less what others think of them; their defense is "I am not trying to prove anything to you or anyone else. This is solely about my comfort, not your preference." That is the keyword right there, ‘preference’. We all have one and Mo’Nique is entitled to hers, but when she imposes her preference on this new age of African American women, well the saying goes, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”
While we thank Mo’Nique for trying, I think we can admit that the video rather fell flat in the community of the pajama and bonnet wearers. Much like their hair would have by taking the unwarranted advice. In my opinion, we have become very lax in both our presentations and our level of respect as African Americans. I'm not sure if it's a defense mechanism or some sort of PTSD that is the reason why we can't appreciate constructive criticism. We have gotten to a place that we no longer acknowledge wrong, so therefore we can do no wrong. But here's the missing link; if you can't accept that you may have made a mistake then you have no room for growth, and if that's the case we will be a stagnate race of people. Let me say this I'm not the biggest fan of Aunt Mo'Nique but I must say I'm rolling with auntie on this one. I have dropped the bonnet and pajama ball on route to vacation a time or two, but because Aunt Mo'Nique asked that we try and do better, maybe just maybe, I will wear sweat pants and a tank top instead. Baby steps are still progressive. Furthermore, to Aunt Mo'Nique from Love Dawn, just because we whined about it a little bit doesn't mean we didn't hear you.
Tami Roman's response: