Aunjanue Ellis Reveals Will Smith Gave ‘King Richard’ Cast Raises After She Told Him She Wasn't Paid Fairly
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Aunjanue Ellis Reveals Will Smith Gave ‘King Richard’ Cast Raises After She Told Him She Wasn't Paid Fairly

"When Black women do well, everybody does well.”

Celebrity News

Will Smith did a very classy thing for his King Richard co-stars and it’s all thanks to Aunjanue Ellis. The Oscar-nominated actress who played Oracene Williams in the most talked about movie of the year stopped by The Breakfast Club and revealed how the actor and producer lent a helping hand to the cast after he discovered they weren’t paid fairly.

Back in November, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Will gave bonuses to the actors after he raked in $40 million. While he hasn’t spoken publicly about the generous act, Aunjanue provided more insight into the situation.

“I think it’s important that I say this, after you get the job, the fight is not over. You have to fight to get paid, and I did that job and I’m thankful for it, but you know I could’ve gotten paid better, and so I told him this. And he did something about it,” she said. “As a result of his doing, him responding to the letter that I wrote to him, not only did he address that with increasing my pay, but the other actors in the movie also got their pay increased, which is the proof of when Black women do well, everybody does well.”

She continued, “I think it’s important that first of all, people know who this man is and what he did and first of all and also that you know, Black women still have to fight to get paid equally, fairly.”

DJ Envy then posed the question if it was actually up to the agent for actors to get paid what they’re worth, which she responded, “Speaking for myself, whoever your agent is, they can fight for having the best thing for you, but if you are working within a system that doesn’t believe the work of Black women is as important as the work of white men, no matter how much they fight, it doesn’t matter, because that’s still a reality,” she said. “And there’s not a Black woman in the world who has had my path, essentially, who doesn’t have that story.”

Many Black actresses have been speaking up about the gender pay gap between them and males, particularly white males. Viola Davis went viral in 2020 for her interview where she talked about her experience with the gender pay gap.

“We won’t talk about gender inequality of pay because a lot of the women who stepped forward – and I stand in solidarity with them, okay - what they’re getting paid, which is half of what a man is getting paid?

"Well, we get probably a tenth of what a Caucasian woman gets. And I’m number one on the call sheet. And then I have to go in and I have to hustle for my worth. That’s what I feel like I’m doing.”

She continued, “I got the Oscar, I got the Emmy, I got the two Tonys, I’ve done Broadway, I’ve done Off-Broadway, I’ve done TV, I’ve done film - I’ve done all of it. I have a career that’s probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, let’s say, Sigourney Weaver.

“They came out of Yale, they came out Juilliard, 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 - nowhere close to it.”

Taraji P. Henson also shocked everyone when she shared that she only pocketed $40,000 for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which she starred in alongside Brad Pitt.

Aunjanue Ellis Talks "King Richard", Working With Will Smith, Black Women In Hollywood & More

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Your July 2022 Horoscopes Are All About Happiness, Release & Divinity

July is the month to focus on allowing yourself to receive. There are beautiful opportunities for blessings this month when you can get out of your own way, and release self-doubt. With Cancer Season here, emotions are flowing, love is showing up, and home is wherever your happiness is. The power of attraction is strong this month as Pallas enters Gemini on July 4 as well, and deep insights are prevailing. July is the time to gain the clarity and answers you have been looking for, and decide where to move forward from there.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
How To Focus Less On Who You Attract In Dating & More On Who You Entertain

The law of attraction is tricky. A few years ago, I felt something was deeply wrong with me because I kept attracting people who hurt me. No matter how hard I tried to fix myself, and alter my energy, the same type of people kept coming my way. I'd talk to my friends about it and ask them, "Why do I keep attracting this type of person? Why do I keep having the same experiences?"

Keep reading...Show less
Here’s What’s Streaming On Netflix And HBO Max In July

There’s nothing like finding a good TV series or movie to watch on your favorite streaming services. The summer is the perfect time to explore what’s new and exciting or revisit an oldie but goodie. Both Netflix and HBO Max have some exciting and new releases for July. From HBO Max’s Rap Sh*t, which is presented by Issa Rae to the season three premiere of Ludacris’ Netflix animated series Karma’s World, there are plenty of options to choose from. So get your streaming on below.

Keep reading...Show less
Kelis On The Importance Of Having Black Women On Her Team

As a Black woman, Kelis knows how important it is to work with other Black women, help each other and give each other opportunities. The “Milkshake” singer has always been a voice for female empowerment with her popular female anthems like “Caught Out There” and “Bossy” and in a chat during Refinery 29’s Unbothered Presents The Glow Up festival, Kelis opened up about the Black women behind her legendary career and how Black women should create safe spaces for ourselves.

Keep reading...Show less
A Black man, R. Kelly, stands in a court room, wearing an orange jumpsuit with his hands handcuffed behind his back, accompanied by a police officer in a green uniform, bulletproof vest and gun.

*Editors note: this article contains information about sexual assault, child pornography and rape. Please read with care. If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
A Black woman looks into the camera and gives a closed-mouth smile. She's wearing a black turtleneck

Miss Diddy Kicks Off BET Awards Weekend With 'A Toast To Black Hollywood'

Her annual event to celebrate the culture has a new name and more intention than ever before

Latest Posts