Jada Pinkett Smith Says Being Married to Will Smith Made it Harder to Get Equal Pay

"Oh, yes. People would literally say, well, you don't need it. You're married to Will," Pinkett Smith told NPR's It's Been a Minute.

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Jada Pinkett Smith Says Being Married to Will Smith Made it Harder to Get Equal Pay

People in power will literally make up any reason to pay women less. For Jada Pinkett Smith, it was that she was already married to Will Smith, and since he’s a huge movie star, why would she ever need pay parity?

“Oh, yes. People would literally say, well, you don’t need it. You’re married to Will,” Pinkett Smith told NPR’s It’s Been a Minute when asked about the equal pay struggles Black actresses face in Hollywood. “Yeah. I’ve heard that several times.”

Host Brittany Luse then asked if that’s why it seems like she doesn’t act as much as she used to: “That has a lot to do with it,” Pinkett Smith said. “And also wanting to get on the other side to kind of help remedy that as a producer and then just wanting to bring more of my influence behind the scene. 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…”

The topic came up when Luse asked Pinkett Smith if she resonated with Taraji P. Henson’s viral “the math ain’t matching” comments about pay parity. She said her “heart broke” for Henson but she was glad she had the courage to speak about it. “It’s hard to speak about,” she told Luse, adding that “as Black entertainers, we carry a lot of people with us,” which makes it harder to walk away when you’re offered less than you deserve.

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost,” Henson told Gayle King during a SiriusXM interview in December. “You get tired. I hear people go, ‘You work a lot!’ I have to. The math ain’t mathing.”

In October, while promoting her memoir, Worthy, Pinkett Smith revealed she and Will have been separated since 2016, so at least studio execs can’t use the “but you’re married to a movie star” excuse anymore. (Though I’m sure they’ll still try!)

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