Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson has revealed that Tyler Perry is the director who paid her half a million for a role. The star shared this during an interview with Ellen Pompeo for Variety’s Actors On Actors series.
She said in part; “I think the industry knew I was talented. But it’s about money. Are you bankable? I had to continuously prove that. I’ve been trying to prove and improve. I was asking for half a million. I didn’t get paid that until I did my first Tyler Perry film. He was the first person who paid me $500,000. I was never in a position where I could not take a job; by the grace of God, they have all been really good characters. But it was never a situation where I was like, “I’m not going to do that.” Now, I’m finally there.”
She continued, “It’s not going to change until privilege reaches across the table and helps. Otherwise, we’re playing a rerun. The only narrative that I wish I could change is my money. It’s almost like they want this incredible performance for a discount price. The black movies — we don’t get big budgets. I have to wait until Scorsese or someone with a franchise film calls.”
Taraji also revealed that in the earlier seasons of Empire she was making less money than co-star, Terrence Howard. But, the audience’s response to her character, Cookie, on the show encouraged her to ask for more money. She said in part, “I’d been in the game long enough to know the numbers game, and I knew Cookie had become iconic. You need her. So, I need my money.”
Taraji P. Henson shares who paid her half million for a role. Here’s a look at the full conversation.
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