Rolling Out

Gabrielle Union joins Taraji P. Henson, Keke Palmer in fight for pay equity

The actress uploaded a TikTok video to share her concerns and personal experiences
Gabrielle Union (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Taraji P. Henson set off a firestorm with her candid comments about Black actresses being undervalued and underpaid, and Gabrielle Union has joined the conversation with a powerful statement. Through a viral TikTok video, Union has shed light on Black actresses’ challenges in the entertainment industry.

In the TikTok video, Union expresses that her experiences as an actress and producer have been marked by being mistaken for other Black actresses, lacking weight given to box-office numbers, and being cast in roles much younger than her age. She also expressed concern about her ability to retire comfortably due to being consistently underpaid.


Union’s voice adds to a growing chorus of Black actresses speaking out against the inequity they face.

Taraji P. Henson recently addressed the issue on Gayle’s Town Hall, which aired on Radio Andy powered by SiriusXM. In the video, Henson becomes emotional and bravely addresses what goes on behind the scenes.


“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do and being paid a fraction of the cost,” Henson said. “I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over. I hear people say, ‘You work a lot.’ Well, I have to. The math ain’t mathing.”

@groovymovi

Taraji P. Henson tears up talking about still being underpaid in Hollywood despite being in the industry for over 20 years. #tarajiphenson #thecolorpurple #hollywood #underpaid #fyp #blackactress

♬ original sound – 🔮Groovy Movi🔮

Keke Palmer later supported Henson’s stance on Instagram, stating, “The entertainment industry is just like any other industry. We run businesses to keep our brands afloat, us being the brand or business,” Palmer said.

“It’s that team of company members that decreases 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 takes a lot. There is still privilege in this depending on what vantage point you are seeing from, but in our industry amongst one another, this is neutralized. This is why no one can have one job anymore … I am not complaining or comparing, but I acknowledge that we all have similar struggles in our industries because corporations run everything, and they aren’t people.”
While Union, Palmer, and Henson addressed their concerns, this is not the first time this narrative has been shared. Viola Davis has been vocal about the same issues over the years.
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@user25505854634808

This was in 2018 Viola spoke out about being called the Black Meryl Streep but paid way less! See,Monique not only spoke out, before Taraji, Viola Davis spoke out, Gabrielle Union sued BET for her pay. This conversation had alot of yt women in the audience uncomfortable but its an issue that needs to be dicussed! #blackpay #underpaid #undervalued #blacklivesmatter #tarajiphenson #oprahwinfrey #thecolorpurple

♬ original sound – Ari

Fortunately, people everywhere are now starting to engage in this dialogue more actively. The TikTok trend has sparked a renewed interest in addressing the underrepresentation and underpayment of Black actresses. It is a step toward creating a more inclusive and equitable industry.

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