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SiriusXM's Town Hall With The Cast Of 'The Color Purple' Hosted By Gayle King

Source: Cindy Ord / Getty

Taraji P. Henson is on a press tour for The Color Purple, a film projected to gross 13 million dollars on its opening day. The actress, who has dedicated 31 years to the entertainment industry, garnering countless awards, including a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, 6 BET Awards, 11 NAACP Awards, and 9 Critic’s Choice Awards, says she’s thought about throwing in the towel because she isn’t paid her worth.

Taraji P. Henson gets emotional while discussing the pay disparity during The Color Purple press run

SiriusXM's Town Hall With The Cast Of 'The Color Purple' Hosted By Gayle King -  taraji p. Henson

Source: Cindy Ord / Getty

During a SirusXM interview with Gayle King, Henson, alongside Danielle Brooks and Color Purple director Blitz Bazawule got emotional as she discussed potentially walking away from her craft.

“I heard on the street, Taraji, you had the audacity of saying you were thinking about stopping acting,” King said. “Are you thinking about it?”

Henson paused before shedding a few tears. “I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do [and] getting paid a fraction of the cost,” she said. “I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over. You get tired. I hear people go, ‘You work a lot.’ Well, I have to. The math ain’t math-ing. When you start working a lot, you have a team. Big bills come with what we do. We don’t do this alone. It’s a whole team behind us. They have to get paid.”

“When you hear someone go, ‘Such and such made $10 million,’ that didn’t make it to their account,” Henson continued. “Off the top, Uncle Sam is getting 50%. Now have $5 million. Your team is getting 30% off what you gross, not after what Uncle Same took. Now do the math. I’m only human. Every time I do something and break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate I’m at the bottom again like I never did what I just did, and I’m tired. I’m tired. It wears on you. What does that mean? What is that telling me? If I can’t fight for them coming up behind me then what the fuck am I doing?”

SiriusXM's Town Hall With The Cast Of 'The Color Purple' Hosted By Gayle King - taraji p Henson, Danielle Brooks, Blitz

Source: Cindy Ord / Getty

“I’m tired hearing of that my entire career,” Henson said. “Twenty-plus years in the game and I hear the same thing and I see what you do for another production but when it’s time to go to bat for us they don’t have enough money. And I’m just supposed to smile and grin and bear it. Enough is enough! That’s why I have other [brands] because this industry, if you let it, it will steal your soul. I refuse to let that happen.”

This isn’t the first time Taraji has mentioned pay inequality

Henson has been candid about the pay disparity in Hollywood. The actress advocated for herself while filming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

“I asked for half a million. That’s it,” Henson explained in a 2019 interview with Variety. “And they gave me $100,000. Does that make sense? I’m number three on the call sheet. Does that make sense to you? All I was asking was $500,000 – that’s all we were asking for.”

She earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film which grossed 335.8 billion dollars.

Women have been fighting for equal pay for years. This issue extends far beyond the entertainment world. Somewhere in your town is a woman exhausting herself, hoping her hard work and dedication will pay off. She wants to be seen as valuable as her Caucasian counterparts. Henson’s vulnerability is far too relatable and reminds us that despite her accolades, there is a universal experience that Black women share.


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Taraji P. Henson Discusses Her Thoughts On Quitting Acting Because She’s Not Paid Her Worth  was originally published on