Gabrielle Union calls out Hollywood's pay inequity for actors of color

"There's almost shame involved because we get paid so much less."

September 23, 2021, 11:52 AM

Gabrielle Union says more needs to be done to ensure all actors are paid fairly in Hollywood -- especially those of color.

Speaking to 9 to 5ish with theSkimm, Union explained why she's a big believer in being transparent about salary, saying the pay disparity is worse among Black actresses and spoke about her her own pay-negotiating experiences.

"As Black actresses, there's almost shame involved because we get paid so much less," she said, and that Black actors take note of who tops the Forbes' highest paid celebrity list year after year.

Viola Davis was the only Black woman to make Forbes' list of 2020's top 10 highest-paid actresses.

"You're like, 'Oh, I'm a failure. I'm a failure! That's what they're making? And I'm nowhere close.' But that's because Black actors don't talk to each other," Union said.

Union said she feels the best way to obtain better pay is by knowing what your colleagues are making and that studios are counting on talent to not know what to ask for because it allows them to offer a much lower salary.

"They assume, justifiably [and] rightly so, that none of us are talking and that's how [we] screw each other," the "Bring It On" star said, and alleged that some studios have been deceitful about what other actors are earning.

Union said that actors of color should talk money with each other, because doing so may save them from accepting a potentially bad deal.

She says she feels actors of color can negotiate better deals by asking studios: "Okay, now please tell me again why you're low-balling me based off of nothing, hoping that I'm an idiot?"

Union also referenced a meme she recently saw, which she said read: "They know your worth. They just hope you don't."

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