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50 Cent Champions Taraji P. Henson’s Fight for Just Pay, Citing Mary J. Blige’s Salary as How He Has Empowered Black Actresses

Rapper and media mogul 50 Cent wants to give actress Taraji P. Henson power — financial power. In a social media post he cited his working relationship with Mary J. Blige in his series “Power” as a reference to how he empowers Black actresses in roles.

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 05: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson attends the red carpet premiere of Starz “BMF” Season 2 at TCL Chinese Theatre on January 05, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

On Jan. 9, the Queens rapper commented on Instagram about Henson’s complaints of being underpaid as a Black Hollywood actress. He confirmed that Black women, like her and Blige, are offered lower-paying roles in high-production films. He then recalled an incident where Starz attempted to offer Blige a low salary for her role as Monet Stewart Tejada on “Power Book II: Ghost.”

“Someone called me today thinking I was bullsh!ting about working with @tarajiphenson till I told them what I made STARZ pay @therealmaryjblige to be on GHOST,” 50 Cent wrote. “I ain’t out here fvcking around.”

Blige is widely rumored to be earning $400,000 per episode for her role on the Starz show, although this unconfirmed figure likely is grossly exaggerated.

On “Empire,” Henson played the leading role of Cookie Lyon, an outspoken record company executive, and earned more than $150,000 per episode by the end of her run on the show.

The music drama and her character blew up in popularity, Deadline reported. However, Henson, still dissatisfied with her pay, claims she fired her team for failing to capitalize on her momentum, a decision that 50 Cent praised Henson for making.

“All they wanted was another Cookie show, and I said, ‘I’ll do it, but it has to be right. The people deserve, she’s too beloved for y’all to f—k it up.’ 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,” Henson said.

As Finurah previously reported, while on a press tour for “The Color Purple,” which was released on Christmas Day 2023, Henson shared her opinion on the issue of studios underpaying and undervaluing Black actresses in significant productions, even when they are the stars.

The negative feedback and criticism surrounding the situation seems to have weighed heavily on Henson. During an interview with Gayle King, she was asked if she would consider leaving acting altogether due to the ongoing challenges. Henson broke down in tears in response.

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost,” Henson said while crying. “I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over. You get tired. I hear people go, ‘You work a lot.’ I have to. The math ain’t math-ing. And you start working a lot, you have a team. Big bills come with what we do. We don’t do this alone. It’s a whole team behind us. They have to get paid.”

“And when you start working a lot, you have a team,” she continued. “Big bills come with what we do. We don’t do this alone. The fact that we’re up here, there’s a whole entire team behind us. They have to get paid. So when you hear someone saying, ‘Oh, such and such made $10 million,’ no, that didn’t make it to their account. Know that off the top, Uncle Sam is getting 50%, OK? So, do the math; now we have $5 million.”

Just like Henson, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has had some issues with Starz, which he believes did not give enough credit to his successful franchises “Power” and “BMF” on the network. Some people would argue that Starz lacked a killer series before 50 Cent’s involvement compared to other popular channels and streaming apps like Amazon, Netflix, HBO, and Showtime.

Finurah also reported that 50 Cent, creator and producer of his own show, was paid $17,000 per episode on “Power.”

“There’s no one that could come and tell me to take $17,000 to act and executive produce and make music,” he told New York Magazine’s Vulture. “I gave them the theme song for ‘Power.’ I gave them the things that connected, hopefully, in a different way for it. Do you see what I’m saying? All those things for $17,000 per episode? I get paid more to go to the nightclub and wave.”

He added, “And then every two years, it felt like we were auditioning for a major carrier. It’s time to renegotiate, and it would be an issue. So for me at that point, really what it is, is racism. Because the project is a success, but the platforms are not necessarily acknowledging things that have diversity connected to them. I’m outperforming a lot of the shows that they had in the award-show ceremony, and they’re not putting the work in the awards show, even to watch it lose.”

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