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Only 1 Black Person Made the ‘Forbes’ List of Highest Paid Actors

Only 1 Black Person Made the ‘Forbes’ List of Highest Paid Actors

The latest Forbes 2023 highest-paid actors list has unveiled the top earners in the entertainment industry, but the lack of diversity among the ranks has sparked discussions about pay equity in Hollywood.

The rankings explore the collective earnings of the top 10 highest-paid stars, amounting to a total of $449 million in 2023. Only one black actor made the list, securing the tenth position.

According to Forbes, the top 10 highest-paid stars collectively brought in a staggering $449 million last year from their work in movies and television.

Leading the pack is Adam Sandler, whose earnings reached $73 million ($97 million gross).

He’s followed closely by Margot Robbie, who earned $59 million ($78 million gross), and Tom Cruise with $45 million ($53 million gross).

Denzel Washington stands out as the only black actor recognized in the rankings, earning $24 million for his roles in 2023 on the Forbes List.

This stark lack of representation underscores the ongoing pay disparity blacks face in the industry.

The rankings reflect criticisms directed at Hollywood’s persistent pay inequity. Earlier this year, Taraji P. Henson, while promoting The Color Purple motion feature film, brought attention to the financial challenges she and other black women encounter in the industry.

In a candid interview with SiriusXM’s Gayle King, Henson expressed frustration over the unequal compensation Black actresses receive compared to their counterparts. Fighting back tears, she shared her struggles navigating the industry’s systemic inequities.

“I’m tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, and getting paid a fraction of the cost,” Henson stated during the interview. “I hear people go, ‘You work a lot.’ Well, I have to. The math ain’t math-ing.”

Henson’s remarks echo the sentiments of many black actresses who continue to face obstacles in achieving fair compensation for their work.

As discussions about pay equity in Hollywood persist, there’s a growing call for meaningful change to address systemic disparities and ensure equal opportunities for all actors, regardless of race or gender.


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