In a recent Sirius XM interview, actress Taraji P. Henson became emotional when she opened up about unfair pay structures in Hollywood.
Speaking with Gayle King, Henson broke down in tears as she recounted her experiences in the industry.
The Oscar and Emmy-nominated star admitted that she had reached a breaking point when she was asked if she had thought about quitting.
The actress revealed that she is paid a fraction of the cost even after being gracious at what she does and working so hard. She went on to say that she had heard others saying the same thing over and over, and it was getting tiring.
The Karate Kid star went on to say that she often hears people say she works a lot, and she agrees as she believes she needs to. Henson added that there is usually a team behind a successful actor or actress and huge bills come in concerning what they do.
As a result, she went on, the team needs to be paid, and as such it therefore becomes a problem when the funds are inadequate.
Delving into how actors and actresses are paid, she explained that for someone who earns, for example, $10 million, about 50% goes into taxes, and the team keeps 30% of the gross amount.
Henson noted that she is human and every time she breaks a glass ceiling, she is kicked to the bottom of the pay scale when the subject of money comes up.
Henson’s revelations led to an outpour of support, including commentary from Robin Thede, who noted that she is “telling the absolute truth.”
Thede wrote on X that 70-80% of gross income is gone off the top for taxes and commissions for agents, managers, and lawyers. He added that most of the popular Black actors and actresses make about $250k to $500k in movies, which translates to $50k to $100k net and may get only one project a year.
Blitz Bazawule, who is the director of The Color Purple, supported Henson’s claims in an interview. He explained that the success of Black actors and actresses isn’t always accounted for when it comes to landing leading roles.