Her co-stars made millions for their parts, but the studio reportedly refused to pay Henson anything more, she said, leaving her “gutted.”
Her roles have become staples in pop culture and in 2009, Taraji P. Henson nabbed herself a coveted Academy Awards nomination for her role in the hit film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The movie starred Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Mahershala Ali, and many other notable names that helped it become an unforgettable cinematic journey. It made Henson an Oscars contender and although she was praised for her addition to the story, the actress recently revealed that she was paid much less than her fellow performers.
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During her appearance on Ladies First with Laura Brown, Taraji shared that while Pitt and Blanchett received millions to star in the film, she was only paid around $40K—much less than what she initially asked. “I felt like what I was asking, at that time of my career, was fair to the ticket sales that I would contribute to this big film. [The studio] wouldn’t do it… and then I was gutted.” Now, Taraji knows her worth and what her talents can contribute to a project.
Elsewhere, the actress also spoke about the “strong Black woman” stigma and how that label can be detrimental. “I understand why we took that on, Black women being the bottom of the totem pole, never being seen,” she said. “I understand, but it’s when others go, ‘Yes, strong Black woman!’ and then it dismisses us… Then if my child or somebody I know is gunned down in the streets, I’m supposed to be strong through that? I’m not allowed to be angry? I’m not allowed to be pissed off?”
“I can’t say because you’ve taken everything from me. I’m not allowed to feel that? I’m just supposed to be strong?” She feels similarly about the term “Black girl magic.” She said, “I’m not a fairy. I get it. It’s sweet, but baby, I’m not a fairy. I don’t have magic dust.” Listen to her episode below.