In her new memoir, Empire star Taraji P. Henson revealed she’s fallen victim to racism and sexism in Hollywood.
When she starred as Queenie in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Henson was nominated for an Oscar. Awesome, right? But she was pretty much paid peanuts for the gig. She described her pay (via USA Today) as “the lowest of six figures” and “sofa change” compared to what leads Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt took home. To add insult to injury, Henson was also forced to pay for her own hotel stays for the three months of filming, which, even on the cheaper side, likely set her back almost $10,000.
Still, she was a good sport and focused on her performance, not her paycheck, writing, “When I did that, my performance of Queenie became transformed into a spiritual awakening, not just for me but also the audiences who watched the film and cheered my performance.”
Still, it wasn’t the first or last time. Henson also revealed that she was intended to have the part of the pregnant Russian stripper in St. Vincent, a role that was written for her … and then rewritten to accommodate the Aryan Aussie.
“Time and again, I’ve lost roles because someone with the ability to green-light a film couldn’t see black women beyond a very limited purview he or she thought ‘fit’ audience expectations,” she wrote. “It was a meaty gig. I would have loved it. Alas, I couldn’t get served at that particular restaurant.”