During an appearance on Gayle King's Sirius XM radio show, actress Taraji P. Henson became emotional when asked if she has plans to quit acting. Henson, who was promoting the film The Color Purple alongside her co-stars Blitz Bazawule and Danielle Brooks, paused, covered her eyes with one hand, and tearfully expressed her frustration. She stated that she is tired of working hard, being underpaid, and hearing other actresses voice the same concerns.
This conversation was prompted by Henson's recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where she discussed her career and the challenges she faces in the industry. Despite her numerous accomplishments, including an Oscar nomination and acclaimed performances in films like Hidden Figures and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Henson revealed that she often receives lowball offers and struggles to negotiate fair salaries.
Henson explained that she continues to work because she understands the importance of her legacy and wants to pave the way for future generations of Black actresses. She emphasized the need to fight for equal pay and opportunities and expressed her desire to prevent other Black girls from facing the same challenges she and her peers, such as Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, have experienced.
In response to Henson's interview, her Hollywood peers, including Gabrielle Union and Robin Thede, expressed their support. Union tweeted that Henson's statements were truthful and acknowledged the toll that advocating for change can take on one's mental health and career. Thede shared a thread discussing the financial struggles faced by actors and praised Henson for her kindness and support.
Steven Canals, co-creator of the TV show Pose, also chimed in, highlighting the misconception that success automatically equates to financial stability. He emphasized that despite his own accomplishments, he does not own a luxury car or a home.
Henson's emotional interview resonated with many and sparked a conversation about the unequal treatment and compensation faced by Black actors and actresses. It shed light on the need for change and fair representation in the entertainment industry.