Chance the Rapper recently rebuked fans on social media for criticizing black women in Hollywood, expressing disappointment with those he referred to as the "dirtiest, dustiest" critics. These comments followed a recent surge of criticism targeting black women in Hollywood.
The issue of critiquing black women in the entertainment industry is not new, as it has persisted for a long time, resulting in heightened scrutiny of their appearance and behavior compared to their white counterparts. This ongoing challenge has contributed to a lack of representation for black women in Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera.
Taraji P. Henson recently addressed the issue of unequal pay in Hollywood, expressing her belief that she is underpaid compared to her white counterparts. Her remarks have ignited a discussion on pay disparities in the entertainment industry, drawing support from numerous celebrities who are joining her call for equal pay.
In a video circulating on social media on the 30-year-old rapper begins by expressing his reluctance to discuss the topic at hand.
"I try not to add my voice to current pop culture events that doesn’t have to do with me. But there’s this current conversation going on right now; a lot of Black women, Black actresses are coming out and talking about how they was did dirty in the industry, how they weren’t paid for their work. This has been going on for years…"
"But the worst part is seeing the comments under a lot of these posts with people talking bout how they should have negotiated better, they should’ve read their contracts and stuff. And these be like the dirtiest, dustiest, brokest, least goal-having, definitely least goal-accomplishing people. In the world."
"They’ll write some stuff and they’ve never negotiated a contract, they’ve never had to hire a lawyer; and if they did, it’s like: you not in The Color Purple! You not doing nothing."
During a recent interview, Henson became emotional as she discussed the considerable effort she has invested in staying financially afloat, all while receiving a fraction of the earnings compared to some of her peers.
"I’m just tired of working so hard being gracious at what I do and getting paid a fraction of the cost. I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over. I hear people go, ‘You work alot.’ I have to. The math ain’t mathing. When you start working you have a team and big bills come with what you do."
"When you hear someone saying ‘Such and such made $10 million.’ That didn’t make it to their account. Know that off the top Uncle Sam is getting 50 percent. Do the math now we have $5 million. Your team is getting 30 percent off of what you gross not what Uncle Sam took. Now, do the math. It seems whenever I break a glass ceiling and it’s time to renegotiate I’m at the bottom again.
"Everybody had to fucking go. Where is my deal? Where is my commercial? Cookie was top of the fashion game. Where is my endorsement? What did you have set up for after this? All they wanted was another Cookie show and I said I'll do it, but it has to be right. She's too beloved for y'all to fuck it up. And so when they didn't get it right, I was like, 'Well that's it.' And then they had nothing else. 'You're all fucking fired."
Her comments have sparked a conversation about pay disparities in the entertainment industry, with many celebrities rallying behind her call for equal pay.
Actress Gabrielle Union lauded Henson in a tweet, affirming, Union emphasized how Black actors strive for the next generation despite the toll it takes on their mental, physical, and professional well-being.
"Not a damn lie told"
Writer and actress Robin Thede elaborated on Henson’s remarks on Twitter, shedding light on how taxes and additional fees significantly impact an actor’s earnings, emphasizing the systemic hurdles Black women encounter in securing fair compensation in Hollywood. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, the most-nominated Black actresses at the Oscars, echoed Henson’s sentiments on Instagram, with Spencer expressing gratitude for her role in articulating the challenges they face.
In addition, Keke Palmer shared Henson's comments on Instagram, providing a thorough explanation of Hollywood's exploitative tendencies towards its members.
"The entertainment industry is just like any other industry. We run businesses to keep our brands afloat, us being the brand/business. And it’s that team of company members that decrease any assumed large lump sum. This includes monthly expenses just like everyone else. In the words of biggie more money more problems.
"To make money you must spend money so what seems like a lot is taken by a lot,” Palmer continued. “There is still privilege in this depending what vantage point you are seeing from, but in our industry amongst one another this is neutralized.
In an Instagram post, 50 Cent supported Taraji P. Henson's decision to let go of her entire team, recognizing her move to address concerns about leveraging the popularity of her Empire character, Loretha Cookie Lyon. Commending her choice, 50 Cent also invited collaboration, stating
" They dropped the ball, forget them @tarajiphenson. I'm ready to work – let's make it happen!"