Viola Davis Challenges Hollywood to “Pay Me What I’m Worth” When Highlighting the Racial Wage Gap in Entertainment

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In February 2018, well established actress, Viola Davis, was interviewed by journalist, Tina Brown, for the Women in the World event. The Los Angeles based event was created to support women in leadership. Among the many guest speakers, Davis came in to start a conversation that we have all heard too many times before when it comes to wages and race.

Davis is known for her work in FencesThe HelpWidows, Doubt, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, City of Angeles, the most popular How to Get Away with Murder, and so much more. Many Academy, BET, Golden Globe, NAACP, Tony, and Emmy awards later, and Davis is still discriminated against racially from a business she has poured so much of her life into.

“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,” Davis proudly exclaimed. “I have a career that’s probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver. They all came out of Yale, they came out of Julliard, 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.”

Davis has spent her years working with some of the biggest names in Hollywood and has not earned the same as her white counterparts.

“I have to get on that phone and people say: ‘You’re a Black Meryl Streep…There is no one like you.’ Okay, then if there’s no one like me, you think I’m that, you pay me what I’m worth. You give me what I’m worth,” David has worked on Broadway with Meryl Streep for years, which is where the comparison started.

The statement was a captivating message but a scary reality. In times where we are fighting for social equality for all, policies of the government to be reformed, and protecting the lives of black Americans, we cannot forget about fighting for the smaller issues as well.