Taraji P. Henson Left in Tears as She Explains Pay Disparity Black Stars Face in Hollywood

Taraji P. Henson has considered quitting because of the lack of pay.

Taraji P. Henson got emotional when talking about pay disparity in Hollywood. The 53-year-old actress recently appeared on Gayle King's SiriusXM show to promote The Color Purple and broke down in tears when she talked about getting underpaid for her work, leading to her almost quitting the industry. 

"I'm just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost," she said, per Deadline. "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.' I have to. The math ain't math-ing. And 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."

Henson continued:  "So when you hear someone saying, 'Oh, such and such made $10 million,' know that didn't make it to their account. Know that off the top, Uncle Sam is getting 50%. Ok? Do the math, now we have $5 million. Your team is getting 30% off what you gross, not after what Uncle Sam took. Now do the math. I'm only human. It seems 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?"

Many notable figures showed support for Henson. Gabrielle Union wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter): "Not a damn lie told. Not. A. Damn. Lie. We go TO BAT for the next generation and hell even our own generation and above. We don't hesitate to be the change that we all need to see AND it takes a toll on your mind, health, soul, and career if we're keepn it 100."

"The entertainment industry is just like any other industry. We run businesses to keep our brands afloat, us being the brand/business," Keke Palmer wrote on Instagram. "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.'"  

Henson is known for her work on the Fox series Empire and the flim The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She has been nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, two Daytime Emmy Awards and six SAG Awards while winning one for her role in the film Hidden Figures. Henson also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress -Television Series Drama for Empire. Her net worth is estimated at $12 million.