Jada Pinkett Smith Says She’s Experienced Hollywood Pay Gap, Recalls Being Told ‘You Don’t Need It, You’re Married to Will’

Jada Pinkett Smith might be one half of a Hollywood Power Couple, but she claims she has still had to experience the so-called industry pay gap that many Black actresses are currently discussing. 

“People would literally say, ‘well, you don’t need it, you’re married to Will’… I’ve heard that several times,” Pinkett Smith recalled to host Brittany Luse of NPR’s “It’s Been a Minute.” 

Pinkett Smith, who has a current net worth of $50 million, has been an actress for almost 30 years acting in television shows such as “A Different World” and later, “Hawthorne.” Memorable silver screen roles include “Set It Off,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “The Matrix” franchise. In addition, her rock band “Wicked Wisdom” allowed her to perform at Ozzfest in 2005 and open for Britney Spears’ 2006 tour. Her memoir “Worthy,” shares insight into her life, was published in October 2023. 

Pinkett Smith Says Hollywood Plays With Her Money

Pinkett Smith’s co-signed Taraji P. Henson’s very public and emotion complaint that there is a Hollywood pay gap for Black actresses. Pinkett Smith is contributing to the conversation that others such as Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union, and Octavia Spencer have already started.

And in December 2023 just as the film reprisal of “The Color Purple” was ready to hit the silver screen, Henson’s remarks concerning the pay disparity went viral. 

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the costs,” Henson said in a Sirius XM interview with Gayle King. “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 mathin’.”

During the interview, Pinkett Smith empathized with Henson, adding that for Black entertainers, the option of choosing not to work is not often a choice. 

“One of the things with Taraji — she is the breadwinner of her family,” Pinkett Smith said during the interview. “Her pressures would be different than mine. I have to put that out front because if it’s time to walk away, you can’t — you can’t always. That’s not always the solution, you know what I mean? You can’t. ‘Cause what people don’t understand as well, with us, as Black entertainers, we carry a lot of people with us.”

Why Pinkett Smith Broadened her Résumé

Serving as the executive producer and host of the Facebook show “Red Table Talk,” featuring her daughter Willow and mother, Adrienne, was a career highlight. The show earned a Daytime Emmy Award in the outstanding informative talk show category. In addition, she narrated and produced the Netflix docuseries, “African Queens.”  

“[I want] to get on the other side to help remedy that as a producer. It’s not to say that I won’t get in front of the camera, but what it takes for me to get in front of the camera, it’s more,” Pinkett Smith shared. “Just in regards to the kind of roles that I want to play or that interest me. And I’m thinking about directing.” 

What people are saying

One thought on “Jada Pinkett Smith Says She’s Experienced Hollywood Pay Gap, Recalls Being Told ‘You Don’t Need It, You’re Married to Will’

  1. Beverly Payne says:

    It’s not just Hollywood who discriminates it’s the Government as well. I got injured at work and couldn’t work for two years I tried to get compensated through disability they denied me because they said I was at retirement age and they tried to force me into retirement.

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