A year after leaving his post as America’s Got Talent host, Nick Cannon said quitting the show was “the best decision I ever made in my life.”
The actor exited the NBC reality competition in February 2017, alleging he was “being threatened with extermination by executives.” The controversy began when Cannon joked about his race during a Comedy Central special, saying, “I honestly believe once I started doing America’s Got Talent, they took my ‘real n—a’ card.”
He told Page Six that leaving the show on his own terms was an opportunity to “take charge and show I wasn’t just a person for hire.” Cannon previously served as host of AGT for eight seasons from 2009-2016.
“I think now people see I can’t be bought,” Cannon said. I will speak my mind and I will always be on the side of artists.”
During a press appearance for Febreze's #BleepDontStink Super Bowl campaign, the rapper and comedian said his treatment in many projects in the entertainment industry has not been fair or equal. Early on in his career, Cannon said he knew if he wanted to be paid fairly, he would have to be more than the on-screen talent.
“We should never pretend like this industry, or any other industry, has ever been about equality. It’s not,” Cannon told Moneyish. “I came up in the game where I wasn’t always the star in the movie, but I knew by the time I did become the star of the movie, I was going to get paid the most because not only was I going to star in the movie, I was going to write the movie, I was going to direct the movie and I was going to produce it.”
The 37-year-old said during his early acting days, the Drumline star was used to being paid less than his white male colleagues, but he took the jobs to gain necessary experience.
“Sometimes you’ve got to be quiet and play the game, but when your time is up, you step up,” Cannon said. “Still to this day, I won’t do a film unless its something I’m part of on the back end and it’s something that I’m a producer on.”
Cannon's current projects have him wearing multiple hats to ensure he is compensated fairly; he is star and executive producer of She Ball, an indie film about women's street basketball, and he is involved behind-the-scenes of MTV2's Wild 'n' Out comedy improv show reboot.