The summer of 2004 was in full bloom with a soundtrack emerging that would overhead memories to come. Beyonce’s Crazy In Love was dominating the charts and making its ascension to one of the greatest songs of all time. Thus, a contender to sweep award season — particularly that year’s BET Awards where the song and Beyonce were nominated in several categories.
Insert Mo’Nique. Unapologetic. Outspoken. And in her words, PHAT — pretty, hot and tempting — like the moniker of the film she’d go on to star in two years later. Mo’Nique was proud of her plus size frame and comfortable in her chestnut skin long before the body positive movement became a hashtag. She was pioneering it.
Anticipation was high before the 2004 BET Awards. What is Mo’Nique going to say? Mo’Nique’s brazen sense of humor made her a risky choice for host. But as Black women do, she came prepared to do her job and do it well.
Overhead lights flicker behind the smog filled stage. It suddenly disappears revealing Mo’Nique and six of her dancers poised beside her as sultry music plays in the background. They’re draped in leg-baring iridescent dresses while striking synchronized poses as they snapped. Mo’Nique saunters down the grand stairs and boom, a record scratch. Crazy In Love echoes through the Kodak Theater and Beyonce springs from her seat. Mo’nique and her girls hit the iconic uh-oh booty bounce. An jolt of electricity propels the audience to their feet as they sing and dance along.
Rarely given the spotlight, plus size bodies were shown as sexy and full of stamina as they magnificent seven transitioned through the face-paced routine with their purple skirts flying through the air. By the end of the performance, Mo’Nique had thrown up her arms up with triumph.
Mo’nique returned as host to the BET Awards in 2007 where she revived her dance skills and performed to Beyonce’s De Ja Vu. Mo went on to host multiple VH1 shows, her own talk show, dozens of films and win an Academy Award for her role in Precious, which is a testament to her prodigious talent.
Catch this year’s virtual BET Awards June 28 on BET at 8/7c.