Mo'Nique Shares Emails Proving She Was Offered the Role of Cookie in Empire

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Mo'Nique visits at SiriusXM Studios on April 20, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Mo'Nique Shares Emails Proving She Was Offered the Role of Cookie in Empire

The Oscar winner exposes her exchange with Lee Daniels.

Published April 22, 2015

Mo'Nique has been adamantly refuting claims that she was not offered the role of Cookie Lyon on the hit series Empire. After the show's creator, Lee Daniels, said she was "blackballed" from the industry, and his writing partner, Danny Strong, denied her even being considered, the Blackbird star is firing back with proof that she is telling the truth.


During an appearance on Sway in the Morning, Mo'Nique gave more details on the situation, and went on to release three emails which prove that she was, actually, offered the role that Taraji P. Henson now occupies.

"You know, when I heard Danny Strong had come on the show and was adamant about Mo'Nique was never offered that role and he'd gone on other places and said it," she said. "And I tweeted that brother and said, 'Will you speak as loudly when you understand that you're telling something that's not correct?'... We done been in conversations, we done broke bread together. So, I wanted to bring the emails to you. And you can read them publicly or privately... I just wanted to put it out there, hey guys, clear my name. That's it."

Sway then proceeded to read the brief emails live on air, revealing that the actress was indeed right all along. The first email, dated February 18, 2014, read, "Lee Daniels had a conversation with Mo'Nique about his new television pilot for Imagine TV/FOX called Empire. We would like to screen test her for the role of 'Cookie.' Please contact us with her television quotes, so that we can start a test, option, deal."

Another email was sent later that same day, highlighting that a response was needed as it was a "time sensitive matter," and that "Lee really does not want Mo'Nique to miss this opportunity."

The situation was muddled a bit as Daniels apparently did not realize that he could not simply offer someone a role without receiving the proper approvals from network executives first. Due to this confusion, and according to another email sent on March 3, the deal fell through.

"Unfortunately it's not going any further for Mo'Nique. Lee fought for her because he thought she would be great for the pilot but studio and network executives insisted on offering the role to Taraji," the final email read. "Thank you so much for providing us with her information. Sorry it didn't work out."

Neither Daniels nor Strong have yet to respond. is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

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(Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Written by Moriba Cummings


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