Taraji P. Henson, acclaimed actress known for her roles in “Empire” and “Hidden Figures,” has expressed frustration and contemplation of quitting acting due to the unfair treatment and pay disparities she experiences in Hollywood. In a recent interview on Gayle King’s SiriusXM show, Henson broke down in tears as she discussed the challenges she faces despite her successful career. She highlighted the discrepancy between her hard work and the fraction of the pay she receives compared to her contributions.
Henson emphasized that despite her achievements, the “math ain’t mathing” when it comes to her paychecks, and the disparities persist when negotiating new roles. She expressed exhaustion with the industry’s dynamics, where despite breaking glass ceilings, she finds herself at the bottom during renegotiations as if her previous accomplishments don’t matter. The emotional toll of the unequal treatment wears on her, leading her to question the purpose of her efforts.
In the interview, Henson also acknowledged the broader issue of pay disparities faced by her fellow Black actors and the next generation coming up behind her. She expressed a sense of responsibility to fight for better conditions for those who follow, stating, “And if I can’t fight for them coming up behind me, then what the fuck am I doing?”
This is not the first time Henson has spoken out about the challenges and biases she faces in the industry. Earlier in the month, she discussed the disparities in pay, stating that despite her consistent work, she still needs to fight for equal compensation. Henson’s frustration reflects the systemic issues within the entertainment industry, where Black actors, especially women, often face unequal pay and limited opportunities.
Despite her contemplation of leaving the industry, Henson acknowledges the importance of persevering and fighting against the challenges. She sees herself as part of a resilient community that doesn’t let trauma consume them and emphasizes the need to continue rising despite the obstacles. Henson’s candid discussions shed light on the ongoing struggle for equity and representation in Hollywood, challenging the industry to address and rectify these systemic issues.