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Taraji P. Henson

Oscar nominee abruptly fired her entire team

Author: Sara Whitman – Page Six Source: News Corp Australia Network:
December 27, 2023 at 18:15

Empire star Taraji P. Henson had bluntly revealed why her entire team were shown the door after the hit series ended.

Taraji P. Henson means business.

In a recent interview with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, the actress revealed she fired her entire team after they failed to capitalise on her Empire success when the show ended in 2020.

“Everybody had to f**kin’ go,” she quipped while speaking with Variety’s Angelique Jackson.

Henson, who played Cookie Lyon for six seasons on the hit drama, further explained that she thought she would have had abundant opportunities following the series’ conclusion.

Instead, she was severely underwhelmed, reports Page Six.

“Where is my deal? Where’s my commercial? Cookie was at the top of the fashion game. Where is my endorsement? What did you have set up for after this?” she reasoned.

“That’s why you all haven’t seen me in so long. They had nothing set up.”
 

The actress has received multiple accolades throughout her career. Picture: Rich Fury/Getty Images
The actress has received multiple accolades throughout her career. Picture: Rich Fury/Getty Images


The Oscar-nominated star, 53, conceded that she was willing to work with her team after they told her it would be in her best interest to have “another Cookie show.”

“I said, ‘I’ll do it, but it has to be right. … She’s too beloved for y’all to f**k it up,’” she recalled.
 

Henson (left) as Cookie. Picture: Supplied
Henson (left) as Cookie. Picture: Supplied


She continued, “And so, when they didn’t get it right, I was like, ‘Well, that’s it,’ and they had nothing else.”

“You’re all f**kin’ fired,’” she added with an unapologetic expression on her face before receiving a round of applause from the audience.

During that same interview, Henson candidly spoke about the pay inequality she and her black colleagues have to fight against in Hollywood.

“I put in the work in so that I could have a voice, so that I could say no [to unfair offers], so that I could fight for those coming in behind me,” she explained.

“You can’t just pay me anything ’cause I’ll say no.”

She shared a similar sentiment last week while speaking to Gayle King on SiriusXM as she got emotional over the unfair treatment of black women in the entertainment industry.

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do [and] getting paid a fraction of the cost,” she said.

“I’m tired of hearing my sisters saying the same thing over and over.”

The Color Purple star further explained, “I’m only human and it seems every time I do something and I break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate I’m at the bottom again like I never did what I just did.”

“And if I can’t fight for them coming up behind me then what the f**k am I doing?” she questioned tearfully.
 

The Color Purple stars (left to right) Blitz Bazawule, Henson, Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, and Oprah Winfrey at the Empire State Building in celebration of the film's premiere on December 12, 2023 in New York City. Picture: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
The Color Purple stars (left to right) Blitz Bazawule, Henson, Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, and Oprah Winfrey at the Empire State Building in celebration of the film's premiere on December 12, 2023 in New York City.
Picture: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images


She also pointed out that actors only take home a small portion of their salaries because their team takes a cut of their earnings.

“Off the top, Uncle Sam is getting 50 per cent. … Your team is getting 30 per cent … off what you gross, not after what Uncle Sam took,” she said. “Now do the math.”

Henson has been a longtime advocate for getting paid what she’s worth.

In 2019, she revealed to Variety that she negotiated her $150,000 pay cheque for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button after initially being offered $100,000.

However, that was still far less than her original request for $500,000.

This article originally appeared in Page Six and was reproduced with permission.

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