Viola Davis is out there spreading a word.
The most Oscar nominated Black actress in history–tied with Octavia Spencer–wants you to know that she gets paid way less than her white female counterparts.
In a recent sit-down with veteran journalist Tina Brown, the HTGAWM star shared that she has no issue being called the “Black Meryl Streep,” but wants to know why with all of her accolades and talent, she isn’t paid like her.
“People say, ‘You’re a Black Meryl Streep. You are and we love you.’ … ‘Well, then if there’s no one like me. You pay me what I’m worth,’” Viola said at the Women in the World Los Angeles Salon on Tuesday.
Honestly, she has the credentials and the trophies to back it all up.
As CNN pointed out, the 52-year-old “is a two-time Tony Award winner, a Golden Globe winner, an Oscar winner and became the first Black woman to win the best actress in a drama Emmy in 2015.” That, and she has been awarded FIVE Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.
“I have a career that’s probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver,” she stressed.
“They all came out of Yale. They came out of Julliard, They came out of NYU. They had the same path as me, and yet, I am nowhere near them — not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities, no where close to it.”
What’s even more sad is that despite Viola being a walking Master Class in acting, she claims that she still has to ” constantly get on that phone” to “hustle for my worth.”
Viola added, that she strongly believes that other Black actresses are offered ” probably a tenth of what a Caucasian woman gets,” which, she also pointed out, “is half of what a man is getting paid.”
And there’s evidence to back that up. As we previously reported, a recent UCLA study found that of the top 168 U.S. films ranked in 2015, Black women starred in just two films; white women starred in 44. And when Black women are cast, they are mostly smaller supporting roles where they are set on the peripheral, which Viola stresses she won’t be the “third girl from the left’ anymore.
“I’m not longer doing that. I’m not hustling for my worth. I’m worthy.”
Not one lie detected there.
In this day and age, partially thanks to the Time’s Up Movement, we hope that more Black actresses such as Viola, Tracee Ellis Ross, Mo’Nique and Wanda Sykes continue to speak out about how the intersections of race and gender play a serious factor in actresses of color being paid way less than everyone else in Hollywood.
Not only could this impact the movie and television industry, but all Black women across the country who regardless of what they do for a living, still make almost 20 cents less than white women for every dollar and have to work eight months extra to make what white men make in one year.
If there was ever a time to demand what you’re worth, it’s now ladies.