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Taraji P. Henson Breaks Down In Tears As She Discussing Hitting Her Breaking Point With Being Underpaid In Hollywood

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Taraji P. Henson via Twitter

Taraji P. Henson broke down in tears during an interview with Gayle King as The Color Purple star opened up about reaching her breaking point with being underpaid in Hollywood.


I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do and getting paid a fraction of the cost,” Henson said. 

I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over. You get tired. I hear people go, ‘You work a lot.’ Well, I have to. The math ain’t math-ing.

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.


Taraji P. Henson also gave insight into how quickly $10 million in earnings can be broken down for an actress. 

When you hear someone go, ‘Such and such made $10 million,’ that didn’t make it to their account,” she continued. 

Off the top, Uncle Sam is getting 50%. Now have $5 million. Your team is getting 30% off what you gross, not after what Uncle Same took. Now do the math. I’m only human.

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. It wears on you.

What does that mean? What is that telling me? If I can’t fight for them coming up behind me then what the f— am I doing?


Taraji was nearly sobbing as she voiced her frustration with the fact that in spite of her successes, she still gets told there’s a shortage of money on the table for Black actors and their stories.

I’m tired hearing of that my entire career. Twenty-plus years in the game and I hear the same thing and I see what you do for another production but when it’s time to go to bat for us they don’t have enough money.

And I’m just supposed to smile and grin and bear it. 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,” she professed.

Watch a clip of Taraji’s emotional interview below.


You may recall that Taraji P. Henson had to fight to get $150,000 for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, when she asked for $500,000 as the third billed actor in the film. 

During a 2019 interview with Variety, Taraji said:

I want to make this very clear – I’m not saying that Brad [Pitt] or Cate [Blanchet] shouldn’t have gotten what they got. They put a— in seats, so give them their money. They deserve it. I’m not saying they shouldn’t get what they’re getting.

I was just asking for half a million – that’s all. That’s it. When I was doing ‘Benjamin Button,’ I wasn’t worth a million yet. My audience was still getting to know me. We thought we were asking for what was fair for me, at the time.

I asked for half a million. That’s it. And they gave me $100,000. Does that make sense? I’m number three on the call sheet.

Does that make sense to you? All I was asking was $500,000 – that’s all we were asking for.

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Taraji P. Henson as Queenie in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’

Taraji P. Henson received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her stellar performance in the film. 

Read a few social media reactions to the emotional clip of Taraji P. Henson speaking her truth.

Please be sure to support Taraji and the amazing cast of The Color Purple when the film opens in theaters on Christmas Day.

Source: Variety

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Xaviera Bryant is the CEO and Founder of Ice Cream Conversations. She's a self-made entrepreneur with over 13 years of experience as an entertainment writer with integrity...and a sense of humor.
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