Renowned American actress Taraji P. Henson has candidly expressed her dissatisfaction with the compensation she receives for her roles in Hollywood, citing inadequate pay as a longstanding issue. During an interview on SiriusXM with Gayle King to promote her latest film, “The Color Purple,” Henson openly discussed her concerns regarding the persistently low remuneration she faces.
Responding to King’s inquiry about rumors of her contemplating quitting acting, the Oscar and Emmy-nominated actress acknowledged reaching a breaking point due to continual underpayment. Henson voiced her frustration, stating, “I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do [and] getting paid a fraction of the cost.”
She further elaborated on the financial challenges faced by actors, highlighting the significant deductions from earnings. “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 team behind us. They have to get paid,” said Henson.
The actress emphasized the impact of taxes and team expenses on her earnings, stating, “Uncle Sam is getting 50%. Now have $5 million. Your team is getting 30% of what you gross, not after what Uncle Sam took. Now, do the math.”
Henson expressed frustration with the industry’s tendency to undermine her achievements when renegotiating contracts. “Every time I do something and break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate, I’m at the bottom again, like I never did what I just did, and I’m tired. I’m tired,” she said.
The actress also shed light on the justifications she often hears for the lack of substantial compensation, such as the misconception that “Black actors and stories don’t translate overseas.” Henson rejected such reasoning, stating, “Enough is enough! That’s why I have other [brands] because this industry, if you let it, it will steal your soul. I refuse to let that happen.”
Taraji P. Henson has had a diverse and successful career, earning acclaim for her roles in both dramatic and comedic films. Despite her achievements and versatility, the actress continues to face challenges in securing fair compensation for her contributions to the industry.