Taraji P. Henson gives tearful response about quitting acting, citing unfair pay

ABC/Troy Harve

Taraji P. Henson says she’s tired of being paid unfairly for her work as an actor and as a result, she may quit.

One of the stops as part of the press run for The Color Purple included a sit-down with Gayle King, who asked the star about rumors regarding the end of her acting career. 

Henson, who became emotional in video of the interview, said, “I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do [and] getting paid a fraction of the cost.”

She added, “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. And when you start working a lot, you know, you have a team. Big bills come with what we do. We don’t do this alone. … It’s a whole entire team behind us. They have to get paid.”

The Proud Mary star explained the large percentage of funds taken from paychecks: “Uncle Sam is getting 50%. … Your team is getting 30% … off what you gross, not after what Uncle Sam took.”

“Every time I do something and I break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate I’m at the bottom again like I never did what I just did,” she said. “And I’m tired. I’m tired. I’m tired. It wears on you.”

Sobbing at one point, Henson added, “If I can’t fight for them coming up behind me, then what the f*** am I doing?”

Henson said that despite her success in acting, she’s told there’s not enough money because Black actors “don’t translate overseas.”

“When it’s time for us to go to bat, [they] don’t have any money,” she said. “Enough is enough.”

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