Viola Davis has called out the pay discrepancy in Hollywood between women of color and White actresses.
The Suicide Squad star has been watching with interest as the industry’s gender pay gap has been tackled by some of Hollywood’s leading ladies, such as Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and Ruth Wilson, and now she insists is the time for the disparity in earnings between actors of different ethnicities to be addressed.
Speaking to Variety, Davis said: “There are no percentages to show the difference. It’s vast. Hispanic women, Asian women, Black women, we don’t get paid what Caucasian women get paid. We just don’t. … We have the talent. It’s the opportunity that we’re lacking.”
Davis, 53, is adamant that the only way the problem can be resolved is if the people in positions of power at the top of the movie and TV industries become more diverse.
She added: “We’re not even invited to the table. I go to a lot of women’s events here in Hollywood, and they’re filled with female CEOs, producers and executives, but I’m one of maybe five or six people of color in the room.”
The Fences star is also on a mission to change how women of color are portrayed on screen, particularly Black actresses who are consistently required to change their natural appearance, especially their hair.
Davis was thrilled when director Steve McQueen asked her to embrace her natural hair in their new movie Widows.
“You’re always taught as a person of color to not like your hair. The kinkier it is, the so-called nappier it is, the uglier it is,” she said. “We’re into a zeitgeist where people are fighting for their space to be seen. People have to know that there are different types of women of color. We’re not all Foxy Brown. We’re not all brown- or light-skinned beauties with a big Afro. We have the girl next door. We have the older, dark-skinned, natural-haired woman.”