Taraji P. Henson is one of the most talented Black actresses who has grown to become a mainstay on screens for over two decades. Her breakthrough in acting came when she featured in the 2001 classic “Baby Boy.” Since then, she has not looked back.
In a recent interview reported by Face2face Africa, the Black entrepreneur disclosed how she felt underpaid in Hollywood despite her acting prowess.
The actress revealed she was offered $75,000 after initially requesting $500,000 for a role that later earned her an Oscar nomination. It was a big role opposite Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” released in 2008. Henson had then starred in “Baby Boy”, and was a rising star in Hollywood.
“I wasn’t even being greedy. I knew that I was up and coming, but surely I know that I can make you $500,000 with my fanbase,” Henson shared on CBS Sunday Morning.
She said she was offered $75,000 but fought and fought until she was paid $150,000. The movie went on to earn her an Oscar nomination for “Best Supporting Actress.” She has gone on to act in attention-grabbing movies and series like Hidden Figures where she acted as NASA scientist Katherine Johnson and as Cookie Lyon in Fox’s “Empire.”
The actress also spoke with Gayle King during a SiriusXM interview recently and addressed the rumors about her quitting acting.
“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 entire team behind us. They have to get paid.”
She also explained in an interview with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation why she had to cut ties with her team after playing the role of Cookie Lyon in the hit TV drama “Empire.” The hit series was said to be one of the “most valuable shows” on television, bringing in $125.5 million in ad revenue in 2016.
She criticized her team for not getting her more roles and endorsements. “Everybody had to f—kin’ go. Where is my deal? Where’s my commercial? Cookie was at the top of the fashion game. Where is my endorsement? What did you have set up for after this? That’s why you all haven’t seen me in so long. They had nothing set up,” Henson shared.
After her comments went viral, hip hop media entrepreneur and blogger Dj Vlad called her out for complaining about being underpaid.
“Here’s the bigger problem, no one wants to hear a millionaire complain that they didn’t get more millions, you’re already a millionaire. Taraji lives in a 6 million dollar house and she’s worth 12 million dollars. Nobody wants to hear Vlad complain about money,” he shared, according to Black Millionaires.
Henson’s fans have since responded to his comments. “Nobody wants to hear [White] male opinions on Black American females inequalities 🤦🏽♂️,” one Instagram comment under a video of Vlad’s comment reads. Another said, “[With] all [due] respect, keep [Black] women out of [your] mouth sir, thank you 👏.”