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How the industry penalises a black woman’s worth.

While promoting her new film 'The Colour Purple', the Oscar nominee told Gayle King that she was tired of working hard, being gracious about her work, and getting paid a fraction of what it's worth.

In the current times, the entertainment industry is grappling with the issue of pay disparity and discrimination against black women. Recently, a video featuring the talented and stunning actress Taraji P. Henson has gone viral, bringing to light the dark battles that black women face in Hollywood. In an interview with Gayle Knight, Henson breaks down expressing her frustration with being overworked, underpaid, and no action being taken.

"I hear people say, ‘You work a lot.’ But I have to work hard because the money I earn is not enough to pay all the bills," she said. "In this industry, there are so many expenses, and we have a whole team behind us who needs to get paid.”

She expressed her dissatisfaction that "every time I achieve something and break another barrier when it's time to renegotiate, I'm back at the bottom as if I never accomplished anything. It's frustrating because it wears on you. What does that mean? What does it tell me?”

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The video further highlights the ongoing battle of black women in Hollywood to receive fair pay for their work. The issue of colourism in the industry is well-known, particularly as it relates to how black and darker-skinned women may be viewed as less marketable than their lighter-skinned counterparts. However, this perception is entirely unfounded. Many talented black actresses, including Henson, have proven time and again that they are capable of delivering powerful performances that resonate with audiences of all backgrounds. Despite this, the fight for equal pay and opportunities in Hollywood continues, and Henson's video serves as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to ensure that all voices are heard and respected in the industry.

This poignant and transformative moment has had a profound impact on many black women in the entertainment industry who face similar challenges. Henson’s raw and unfiltered emotions hit home for many of us, and it served as a powerful reminder to persevere and never settle. As black women, we are often told to lower our expectations when it comes to how we are treated by others. We are made to feel as if we are undeserving of basic respect and dignity. However, this moment has sparked a call for change. We are demanding the industry recognise our value, talent, and contributions, and we refuse to settle for anything less than what we deserve. We hope to see a breakthrough in the industry, where black women are given the same opportunities, respect, and recognition. This moment marks a turning point, and we will continue to break down barriers, shatter stereotypes, and pave the way for future generations of black women in the industry.

Written by Shantí - Filmmaker/Journalist

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