Taraji P. Henson saddened by the the obstacles of systematic racism Photo Credit: Instagram @femalequotient

Taraji P. Henson is tired of being underpaid by the entertainment industry, mentioned in an interview with siriusXm in December 19, 2023 when asked if she was thinking about quitting her career.

Female quotient states that “The wage gap costs Black women $964,400 over a 40 year career.” Most recently,  Taraji P. Henson, actor,  shed light on systematic oppression she faces in Hollywood.  Henson is physically and emotionally tired as she opens up in an interview with siriusXm in December 19, 2023 when asked if she considered quitting acting, her response: “I’m just tired of working.

How can she not be tired? Henson is working to compensate for the wage gap between white and colored actors. Female quotient states, “Black women are paid .67 cents for every dollar paid to white men.” As a woman of color, Henson is disadvantaged when negotiating her contracts. 

In the interview, Henson said, “I’m only human, and it seems every time I do something, 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, and I’m just tired. I’m tired, I’m tired. It wears on you, you know, because what does that mean? What is that telling me?” She expresses her emotions while shedding light on the challenges she and others like her face. 

Unlike white women, Black women, in particular, are often treated with less respect and value. Black women conform to what is given to them rather than what their white female counterparts receive with less negotiation. Briefly looking at the list from The Women in the World Foundation, the highest-paid actors in 2023, Angela Davids is the only black woman on the list, at number 19. Henson is missing from the list despite her popularity.

In her 20-plus-year career, Henson mentions to Gayle King, host, that the excuse she keeps hearing is that “and then they just tell me we do not translate overseas.” However, she realizes that this is a phrase production companies had told her to justify the pay and value of her work. This scenario demonstrates how those in power construct race socially and economically. 

In conclusion, the entertainment industry devalues the worth of individuals who have a diverse background. Though individually unique, race, gender, and other identity categories work together to create an individual experience. Some may be able to benefit from these identities, while others may not because whiteness is the predominant culture. The overall goal is to understand the complexity in a world with preferences for whiteness. It is not about who is more or less disadvantaged or oppressed. It is about moving towards a balance in social equality. These concepts matter and must be understood so that the conversation remains free of preferences or one versus the other.

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