It’s no secret that Hollywood has a major pay equity problem, between men and women and certainly between Black women and everyone else. The pay gap is absolutely enormous. Black actresses have often talked about receiving pennies for their work in comparison to their white colleagues. Octavia Spencer just revealed that it was only because of Jessica Chastain’s interference that she could increase her salary five times over for a forthcoming project.
Still, there is much more than needs to be done. Though Black women have appeared on Forbes’ highest-paid list here and there, last year, there was only one woman of color on the list at all, Modern Family alum, Sofia Vergara. In 2018, Kerry Washington made the last for her long-running role as Olivia Pope on Scandal.
However, for Forbes’ 2020 list, there is only one Black actress on the list, and she’s number 10.
For the first time in her career, Viola Davis is the highest-paid Black actress in Hollywood, pulling in $15.5 million. She earned her paychecks from her role as Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder and as Ma Rainey in Netflix’s film adaption of the August Wilson play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Looking at the Oscar winner’s earnings in comparison to the top paid actress Vergara. Who earned a simmer of $43 million, there is still a great deal to be done.