Taraji P. Henson Tears Up When Questioned About Leaving Acting, Citing Industry Pressures


Taraji P. Henson, the esteemed actress renowned for her compelling performances, recently revealed a deeply vulnerable side during a SiriusXM interview with Gayle King while promoting her latest film, “The Color Purple.” In an emotional moment, the 53-year-old actress couldn’t hold back her tears when addressing a poignant question about potentially quitting acting due to industry challenges.

Expressing raw honesty, Henson shed light on the ongoing issues of unfair compensation in the entertainment industry, stating, “Enough is enough! This industry will steal your soul. I refuse to let that happen.” She candidly shared her frustration about being persistently underpaid despite her years of dedicated work in the field.

Her emotions became palpable as she delved into the financial realities, emphasizing the disparities in compensation and the substantial deductions from earnings due to taxes and various team expenses. Through tears, she articulated the impact of renegotiations after achieving milestones, feeling repeatedly pushed back to the starting point in terms of compensation.


Moreover, Henson highlighted the enduring excuse within the industry that stories featuring Black actors don’t perform well overseas, a notion she has encountered throughout her two-decade-long career. Her impassioned remarks revealed the challenges she faces and her determination to stand up against systemic issues, refusing to let them compromise her integrity.

Following the interview’s circulation, numerous creators and followers showed support for Henson’s candid statements. Robin Thede, creator of “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” echoed Henson’s sentiments, emphasizing the substantial deductions Black actresses face from their earnings, leaving them with a fraction of what they ostensibly earn.

Thede’s tweets emphasized the hidden costs actors shoulder, including expenses for social media management, styling, hair and wigs, childcare, housing, and privacy. She shed light on the stark reality faced by many Black actresses, who, despite starring in films, often struggle financially due to these deductions.

Despite the challenges, Henson continues to push forward in her career, with upcoming projects such as “The Color Purple” adaptation and “The Emmett Till Story,” where she will play Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie. These ventures demonstrate her commitment to telling important stories while navigating the systemic issues prevalent in the entertainment industry.