Taraji P. Henson Talks Money, Black Women and Equal Pay on 'The Real'

In her most recent appearance on “The Real,” Taraji P. Henson talked about her difficult journey to stardom and the way money is broken down in the industry.

Henson recalled that after graduating from Howard University, she decided to head to Hollywood to make her dreams come true.

She told the hosts Loni Love and Garcelle Beauvais that she even worked a temp job at an accounting firm which made her feel stuck. Luckily, her positive mindset and passion for acting helped her stay motivated.

“You can’t give up on your dreams, even in the darkest hour you got to be the light in the darkness,” she said.

When she first got to Hollywood, Henson had very little to her name, and on top of that had a son she had to provide for.

“I had $700, my son, and faith,” said Henson, recalling what she started off with.

Beauvais asked Henson if she had seen any growth within the industry. Henson kept it real and said there has been growth, but she believes there’s still room for more.

“Humanity, in general, has a long way to go, but absolutely there’s room for a lot more growth,” she said. “What I do like is that so many people are working and so many different stories are being told about our culture,” she added.

Love later brought up that Henson said the first person to pay her well was Tyler Perry, and how previous projects she worked on were not paying her what she was worth.

“I am proving myself still, but at the same time I’m not gonna belittle myself, my talent, and my worth,” she said.

She recalled being called greedy after discussing that she only made $150,000 for her role in “Benjamin Button.”

“When you start making that kind of money, uncle Sam takes 50 percent,” she said, breaking down the math that goes into getting paid in Hollywood.

She said another 30 percent was paid to her team and that at that time, most of her earnings went towards her son’s school tuition.

“You see somebody sold something to a streaming service for $20 million dollars. Sounds great. Do that math I just told you,” she said. “They literally walk away with less than half of that,” she added

See The Real show clip here.

Photo Credit: Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

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