Oprah Winfrey, Taraji P. Henson, The Color Purple, Pay Gap, the greatest champion

Taraji P. Henson And Oprah Winfrey Present United Front Amid Calls To Address Pay Gaps For Black Actors

Taraji P. Henson posted online crediting Oprah Winfrey for supporting the cast of 'The Color Purple' amid voicing pay frustrations.

Taraji P. Henson and Oprah Winfrey praised each other online, quieting recent speculation about whether there was tension between the two regarding Henson’s statements on pay disparity for Black actors.

Henson has been vocal about pay inequality, citing her Oscar-nominated role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, earning her $150,000 compared to millions paid to her co-stars. Today reported that the Golden Globe award recipient also nearly walked away from her current role in The Color Purple musical over low pay.

As fans began to assume her frustrations were connected to executive producer Winfrey, Henson posted an Instagram message crediting Winfrey for supporting the cast of The Color Purple.

“Ms. OPRAH has been nothing less than a steady and solid beacon of light to ALL OF THE CAST of The Color Purple!!!” Henson wrote. “She told me personally to reach out to her for ANYTHING I needed, and I did!”

Winfrey also posted, praising Henson for her performance and welcoming the actress to the “Purple sisterhood.”

While The Color Purple executive producer did not address pay gaps in her post about Henson, the two presented a united front amid calls for Winfrey to address the concerns. Their messages underscored Henson’s vow not to let Hollywood “steal her soul” and to continue fighting for change.

Henson broke barriers by detailing the hurdles she previously faced and still faces when it comes to pay negotiations as a Black woman in Hollywood. According to the outlet, she said that studios justify lower offers by claiming Black-led projects “don’t translate overseas.”

“You get tired. I hear people go, ‘You work a lot.’ I have to. The math ain’t mathing,” she told Gayle King with Today tearfully.

Henson follows Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and other Black actresses speaking out about pay gaps for Black women in the industry compared to their white counterparts. Spencer recalled when Jessica Chastain helped her negotiate equal pay on a project they collaborated on.

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