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Taraji P. Henson Acknowledges It's "Scary" to Speak Out Against Pay Disparities for Black Women in Hollywood

 Taraji P. Henson on stage at the 2024 NAACP Awards.
Taraji P. Henson on stage at the 2024 NAACP Awards.

Taraji P. Henson took home the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture award at Sunday's NAACP Image Awards, but the star isn't resting on her laurels. During the ceremony, the Oscar nominee used her platform to again discuss Hollywood pay inequality, particularly as it affects Black women.

During awards show host Queen Latifah's opening monologue, the rapper mentioned inflation, before the camera moved to Henson, who said "equal pay for Black actresses" was not being inflated (via Deadline).

And in her Outstanding Supporting Actress speech, The Color Purple actress thanked her fans for supporting her as she spoke out about unfair treatment, encouraging others to speak up, too.

"It's a scary thing to speak your truth," Henson said. "But I urge you all to speak your truth, because at the end of the day, that's all we have. And like they say, 'The truth will set you free.' And not only that, it will set somebody else free."

Henson's comments on Sunday come after an emotional interview she had with Gayle King for SiriusXM in December. King asked Henson if she was considering leaving acting, and the star visibly teared up. "I'm just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost," Henson said. "I'm tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over. You get tired."

The actress also discussed pay inequality with Variety as far back as 2019, reiterating that she wasn't given the salary she asked for on 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which she earned an Oscar nomination. All of these years later, Henson is still fighting for equal pay, and no doubt will continue to until significant movement is seen in the industry.