Taraji P. Henson, a prominent voice against pay disparity in Hollywood, recently made headlines by taking a decisive step that sent shockwaves through the industry. The accomplished actress, renowned for her iconic portrayal of Cookie Lyon on the hit series 'Empire,' revealed in a candid interview with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation that she fired her entire team for failing to leverage the immense success of her beloved character.
In a no-holds-barred discussion, Henson expressed her frustration, emphasizing that her team missed crucial opportunities to capitalize on the popularity of Cookie Lyon. The character, known for her fierce personality and impeccable style, had become a fan favorite, dominating the fashion game and captivating audiences worldwide.
"Firing everybody after Cookie," Henson asserted, "Everybody had to f—kin’ go. Where is my deal? Where’s my commercial? Cookie was at the top of the fashion game. Where is my endorsement? What did you have set up for after this? That’s why you all haven’t seen me in so long. They had nothing set up."
The actress lamented that her team had suggested another show centered around the iconic Cookie character. However, Henson was open to the idea only if it was executed with the utmost care and respect for the character's legacy. "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."
This revelation comes in the wake of Henson's previous interviews addressing pay disparities in the industry. In a heartfelt conversation with Gayle King on SiriusXM, she opened up about being underpaid for her work and the challenges faced by actors in the industry. Henson expressed fatigue from working hard while receiving only a fraction of what she believed she deserved.
"I’m tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost," Henson confessed. "I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over. You get tired."
As Henson bravely confronts these industry challenges, her bold decision to reshape her team echoes her commitment to addressing the systemic issues that plague Hollywood. Fans and industry insiders alike are now eagerly awaiting the next chapter in Henson's career, hopeful that her unwavering determination will pave the way for positive change in the industry.