We all know the wage gap between men and women in Hollywood is a real concern, especially for women of color. They might have it the worst in Hollywood, and actress Taraji P. Henson provided a prime example of this in her memoir, Around the Way Girl.
In the surprisingly revealing book, the Empire actress talks about how she made “the equivalent of sofa change” compared to Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett for their work on David Fincher’s Benjamin Button.
Brad and Cate earned millions for their roles, but Henson’s paycheck didn’t even come close to that. She explains in her memoir that she didn’t expect to get millions; however, she also didn’t think they would pull this sh-t on her…
“I sat by the phone for hours, waiting for Vince[Cirrincione, her manager] to call and tell me the number that I thought would make me feel good: somewhere in the mid six figures — no doubt a mere percentage of what Brad was bringing home to Angelina and their beautiful babies, but something worthy of a solid up-and-coming actress with a decent amount of critical acclaim for her work.
Alas, that request was dead on arrival. ‘I’m sorry, Taraji,’ Vince said quietly when we finally connected. ‘They came in at the lowest of six figures. I convinced them to add in a little more, but that’s as high as they’d go.’ There was one other thing: I’d have to agree to pay my own location fees while filming in New Orleans, meaning three months of hotel expenses would be coming directly out of my pocket. Insult, meet injury.”
A slap in the face? You bet. She received an Oscar nomination for her work in the film, so the critical acclaim was there, but the financial success was not.
She didn’t start getting the money she deserved until Tyler Perry put her in his 2009 comedy I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
“It was he who gave me a fair wage to star in his movie, which ultimately raised my quote — the baseline pay I could negotiate going into subsequent movie deals. It was because of him — not an Oscar nomination