Taraji P. Henson Says She’s “Tired” Of Being Underpaid & Shuts Down Oprah Feud Rumors, Social Media Reacts

Taraji P. Henson Says She’s “Tired” Of Being Underpaid & Shuts Down Oprah Feud Rumors, Social Media Reacts

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Actress Taraji P. Henson has been a major publicity run with the cast of The Color Purple and for most of it, the actresses were expressing a united front of feel-good Black girl magic. But that’s until Gayle King, interviewing Henson, Danielle Brooks and director, Blitz Bazawule, asked her about a rumor that she wanted to quit acting.

Turns out, King’s research was good. Henson became visibly upset. After pausing, she answered the question affirmatively and said the major reason was that she was tired of fighting the battles related to compensation.

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost,” she told King as Brooks moved to comfort her. “I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over.”

She added, “It seems every time I break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate, I’m at the bottom again like I never did what I just did. “What is that telling me?” she said, starting to cry. “If I can’t fight for them coming up behind me, then what the f-ck am I doing?”

Henson says that she has been historically underpaid throughout her two-decade career. She famously said that she was only paid $150K for her Oscar-nominated role in the 2008 Brad Pitt movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Henson has shared that she had to audition for The Color Purple despite a stellar movie and TV career that includes critical and commercial success in Baby Boy, Hustle & Flow, Hidden Figures, and as the star of the TV show Empire. And she’s not the only one who thinks that Hollywood’s compensation system is biased.

Terrence Howard, her Empire co-star is currently suing his agency CAA, saying that he was paid less for his role on the show than white actors like Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm and others.

Henson said in another interview that she feels she’s starting over on each project.

“I’m really getting tired of Black women having the same story,” she said in another interview on a SAG/AFTRA panel.”It breaks my heart.It’s like every time you achieve something really incredible, the industry looks like its a fluke. Like that was like some one-time thing. So you fall back to the bottom and you gotta negotiate and fight tooth and nail to get what you made the last time. Where’s my raise? I haven’t seen a raise in my income since Proud Mary.

 

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Henson said she almost didn’t take the role as Shug Avery in The Color Purple for those reasons. Her comments were flooded by fellow actresses Keke Palmer, Gabrielle Union, Halle Berry and others who cosigned her struggles and lamented having to fight for their quotes as well.

 

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But Henson quickly denied she harbored any animosity toward Winfrey after a TikTok post seemed to show Winfrey ignoring her at a photo shoot.

At the photo op in New York City, it appeared from the footage shot on the scene that Oprah ignored Henson and then moved as far away from her as she could to take the photo. While Henson hasn’t commented on what exactly happened and if the footage was misleading in any way, she did praise Winfrey on Instagram.

“Ms. OPRAH has been nothing less than a steady and solid beacon of light to ALL OF THE CAST of The Color Purple!!!” Henson posted.

She has provided ENCOURAGEMENT, GUIDANCE and UNWAVERING SUPPORT to us all.

She told me personally to reach out to her for ANYTHING I needed, and I did!

It took ONE CALL… ONE CONVERSATION… and ONE DECISION MAKING BLACK WOMAN to make me feel heard.

Thank You Ms. @OPRAH For ALL That You Do 💜💜💜

 

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See how social media is reacting to Taraji’s honesty below.

The post Taraji P. Henson Says She’s “Tired” Of Being Underpaid & Shuts Down Oprah Feud Rumors, Social Media Reacts appeared first on Black America Web.