Taraji P. Henson Criticizes 'The Color Purple' Production for Making Cast Drive Themselves to Set in Rental Cars

The 'Empire' actress said that advocating so much for yourself in the entertainment industry "wears on your soul."

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Taraji P. Henson was extremely candid in recent comments about the treatment of Black actors.

In a new interview with the New York Times, Henson revealed that she and the cast of The Color Purple had to drive themselves to work in rental cars.

“I was like, ‘I can’t drive myself to set in Atlanta.’ This is insurance liability, it’s dangerous,” she said. “What do I look like, taking myself to work by myself in a rental car? So I was like, ‘Can I get a driver or security to take me?’ I’m not asking for the moon."

She continued, “They’re like, ‘Well, if we do it for you, we got to do it for everybody.’ Well, do it for everybody! It’s stuff like that, stuff I shouldn’t have to fight for. I was on the set of Empire fighting for trailers that wasn’t infested with bugs.”

She also discussed how having to always advocate for yourself is exhausting.

"It wears on your soul because you fight so hard to establish a name for yourself and be respected in this town to no avail,” she explained.

“With Black films, they just don’t want to take us overseas and I don’t understand that. Black translates all over the world, so why wouldn’t the movies? I have a following in China of all places. Y’all not going to capitalize on that? Don’t everybody want to make money here? I’m not the person that pulls the race card every time, but what else is it, then? Tell me. I’d rather it not be race, please give me something else.”

Henson's comments follow an interview she did in late December with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, sharing that the "best acting business decision" she has made was “firing everybody after Cookie”—her Empire character, Loretha "Cookie" Lyon.

"Everybody had to fucking go,” she said. “Where is my deal? Where is my commercial? Cookie was top of the fashion game."

She added, "All they wanted was another Cookie show and I said I'll do it, but it has to be right. She's too beloved for y'all to fuck it up. And so when they didn't get it right, I was like, 'Well that's it.' And then they had nothing else. 'You're all fucking fired.'"

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