Inequality in the entertainment industry has been an issue that many have sort to address in a variety of ways. Though many of the top players in the industry have been hesitant in accepting the fact that such things as pay equality is seriously lacking in the industry; it is now becoming more evident. Recently Forbes magazine unveiled the annual list of TV’s 10 highest-paid actresses in the world: and what caught the attention of many is that only one black actress made appeared on it.
Kerry Washington took the eighth place on the list and the only black woman on the list. She has appeared on it for the fifth year in a row for her role in the hit ABC show, Scandal. But even as many congratulate her, the conspicuous lack of black representation on the list has generated a debate over the lack of pay equality among black people in the industry.
The World’s highest paid actresses 2018 list featured: “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara, who earned $42.5 million and earned the top position, while Washington’s fellow ABC star, Ellen Pompeo earned $23.5 million for “Grey’s Anatomy,” taking the 3rd spot.
Reports have it that the earnings were calculated from June 2017 to June 2018. Added together, the total amount the actresses earned stands at $168.5 million which is an increase from last year’s $156.5 million. Forbes explained that, ““All earnings estimates are from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018. Figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Earnings estimates are based on data from Nielsen, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry insiders.”
“Washington, whose father is African-American and her mother is of Jamaican ancestry has, since 2012, gained publicity for her role in the ABC drama Scandal, a Shonda Rhimes series in which she played Olivia Pope, a crisis management expert to politicians and power brokers in Washington, D.C., and also is a producer. For her role, she has been nominated twice for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series.”
Despite the fact that Washington managed to earn more than “Homeland” star Claire Danes, who earned $9 million, and former “NCIS” star Pauley Perrette who took home $8.5 million; what rubbed many industry watchers the wrong way was that she was the only black person on such a list. They insisted that production companies were not paying the current crop of actresses enough to make them appear on such lists. They also pointed out the fact that, such rankings boosted them to getting better gigs in the industry.
It was also noted that, “It is unfortunate that even the Black women who are believed to have more opportunities in acting are not making as much as their white counterparts.”