Oscar-awarding winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique and her husband, Sidney Hicks, are the owners of the Houston Equalizers. Mo’Nique was in town Tuesday to introduce her team and the league that was founded in 2015 by businessman James Scott.
Mo’Nique says the City of Houston holds a special place in her heart after her many years of tour stops. She recalled one such stop in Houston about 14 years ago when she was pregnant with her twins. All of a sudden, in the middle of her act, she wasn’t feeling so good.
The warmth and compassion of the audience that night touched her.
“I never forgot that moment. So, when the call came to me and my husband, and we were told about the opportunity and it was Houston … Houston is my home,” Mo’Nique recalled.
“Y’all don’t treat me like a celebrity or an entertainer, nor do you treat me like I’m famous. You treat me like I’m yours.”
Other than the team name and team colors, purple and gold, most of the details about the team seem uncertain. Scott said the league is looking into a local venue but was still uncertain. An assistant coach has been hired, but there is no head coach at this point.
Tryouts for the Equalizers and their cheerleaders will be held at some point in April.
Despite some of the uncertainty, the league does at least seem to have some intrigue. The teams will be split down the middle, with men and women competing on the court together. According to the league rules, three women and two men will take the floor together in the first quarter and three men and two women will compete together in the second quarter.
Some subtle differences revealed during Tuesday’s gathering are that the men’s 3-pointer will count for four points for women. Also, late in the fourth quarter, the team trailing will have the option of putting five women on the floor. They will have the ability to make four-point shots to close the deficit.
But for Mo’Nique, the exciting part is seeing women sharing the floor with men and having equal footing. Her husband came up with the team name, but it’s a name that carries great meaning for the comedian who has been outspoken about being paid equal to her male comic counterparts.
Mo’Nique has waged a war with Netflix over equal pay and has been at odds with black Hollywood powerbrokers Oprah and Tyler Perry in recent years.
“We stand for equality. None of y’all in here are strangers as to what is happening in my life. I’m in the fight of my life right now and fighting for equality along with my husband.”
In addition to Mo’Nique, some of the other celebrity owners in the league include: Master P., who is president and owner of the New Orleans Gators, Tiny Harris, who is owner of the Atlanta Heirs, Ice T, who is owner of the New York Knights, and Trina and Trick Daddy, who are owners of the Miami Ballers.