Queen Latifah Points to Pay Inequality For Black Actresses at NAACP Image Awards

The show host thanked Taraji P. Henson for highlighting the issue late last year.

Person on stage with microphone wearing billowing purple attire
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Person on stage with microphone wearing billowing purple attire

Queen Latifah showed solidarity with Taraji P. Henson at the NAACP Image Awards.

On Saturday, Latifah—who hosted the event—took to the stage to discuss rising inflation and how much that’s affected Americans’ daily lives. She then specifically pointed to Henson’s viral comments about Black actresses being underpaid in Hollywood.

Queen Latifah: “You know what’s not feeling inflation?”

Taraji P. Henson: “Equal pay for Black actresses”#NAACPImageAwards pic.twitter.com/qDqmcQMqA3

— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) March 17, 2024
Twitter: @DEADLINE

“It’s no secret we are facing some seriously pivotal issues,” Latifah said. “Everyone is talking about inflation. You know what’s not feeling inflation?”

“Equal pay for Black actresses,” she answered. As the crowd applauded, she said, “Thank you, Taraji, for standing up for all of us.”

Latifah proceeded to ask all of the Black actresses in the audience to stand up and be recognized for their achievements. “Everybody else in this hall room stand up for all of us Black actresses who have been representing for us," she said. "Support us. Join us. Because it’s you who stand next to us every day. We know this and we want to say thank you.”

Taraji first made comments about Black actresses facing pay inequality last December. During The Color Purple promotion, in a conversation with Gayle King, Henson lamented the position she’s in.

"I'm just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost," Henson said, tearfully. “I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over. You get tired."

She then explained that while an actor can make $10 million on paper, they don’t see that money. "I hear people go, ‘You work a lot!’ I have to. The math ain’t mathin’," she said. "Big bills come with what we do; we don’t do this alone. The fact that we’re up here, there’s a whole entire team behind us. They have to get paid.”

Her comments were divisive. Some, like Vivica A. Fox, revealed they couldn’t relate to the issue, while others, like Keke Palmer, agreed.

At the NAACP Image Awards, Henson took home the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for The Color Purple.

“I just want to thank you guys so much for showing up for me all the time, not just to the box office or watching what I’m in but y’all saw what happened and y’all showed up, you showed out, you showed me love,” Henson said during her speech, per Deadline. “It’s a scary thing to speak your truth but I urge you all to speak your truth because at the end of the day that’s all we have.”

She continued, “And like they say, the truth will set you free. And not only that, it will set somebody else free.”

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