Taraji P. Henson Says Tyler Perry Was The 1st Person To Pay Her Half A Million, Vents That Hollywood Wants Black Films For A ‘Discount Price’
Taraji P. Henson is one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood, however in a new interview she acknowledges that as a black actress she’s not always paid what she’s worth.
It’s no secret that Hollywood has long-held onto its persistent problems with a lack of diversity, specifically as it relates to paying actors of color what they’re truly worth and equal to that of their white counterparts. In a recent sit-down interview, Taraji doesn’t hold back on calling out Hollywood for consistently underpaying black talent and attempting to make black films
“for a discount price.”
Discussing that she hoped she would get more money after her iconic role in the Academy Award-nominated film Hustle & Flow, Henson revealed that Tyler Perry was the first to pay her worth:
“I think the industry knew I was talented. But it’s about money. Are you bankable? I had to continuously prove that. I’ve been trying to prove and improve. I was asking for half a million. I didn’t get paid that until I did my first Tyler Perry film. He was the first person who paid me $500,000. I was never in a position where I could not take a job; by the grace of God, they have all been really good characters. But it was never a situation where I was like, “I’m not going to do that.” Now, I’m finally there.”
Continuing, she went on to acknowledge how Hollywood still has issues with funding black films despite how much they make at the box-office:
“It’s not going to change until privilege reaches across the table and helps. Otherwise, we’re playing a rerun. The only narrative that I wish I could change is my money. It’s almost like they want this incredible performance for a discount price. The black movies — we don’t get big budgets. I have to wait until Scorsese or someone with a franchise film calls.”
Henson also stated that she wasn’t afraid to play hardball when it came to her asking for a raise on Empire, especially since her character is a fan-favorite:
“But when all the tweets were about Cookie, I said, “It’s time to renegotiate. Can everybody sit down at the table, please?” I’d been in the game long enough to know the numbers game, and I knew Cookie had become iconic. You need her. So, I need my money.”
What are your thoughts on Taraji P. Henson’s comments about Hollywood? Let us know in the comments!