“I Have Watched A Lot Of Men Get Rich…And I Was Being Paid Peanuts”: Nia Long Talks About Gender Pay Gap In Hollywood

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Nia Long

attends the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Grants Banquet at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 9, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.

I often consider the ways in which Mo’Nique’s words—regardless of her approach—rang true. Women are not getting paid what they’re worth, what they’ve earned. And for Black women, the situation is even more dismal.

And you already know Mo’Nique is not the only woman to experience this type of treatment. Recently, actress Nia Long spoke about the ways she’s been disenfranchised in the industry, getting paid less than she deserves, while her male co-stars were able to take home more.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press at an event for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Long said, “I have watched a lot of men get rich off of the films that I’ve done and I was being paid peanuts.”

Long said when she asked her male producers and filmmakers for more pay, she said she was often shut down.

“When I requested or wanted more, I was considered difficult, outspoken, entitled, and all of the things that should not be used to describe a woman who has earned her space, her place and delivers. And that just doesn’t apply to me, that’s for everyone.”

Thankfully, Long said she’s noticing a shift in the industry.

“I think we are talking about it,” Long said. “Women are more inclined to have those in-the-kitchen conversations with one another where we can just talk freely about all the things that we’ve been shamed [for].”

If you consider Long’s co-stars, you’ll realize just how many men have gone on to have fruitful careers: Oscar-winning Cuba Gooding Jr., consistently working Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, and even producer and director Ice Cube.

This is not the first time Long has shared this story. In a 2016 interview with Larry King, she shared some of her journey.

“I’m 45. I’m black. And I’m a woman,” she said. “So those are three really hard things to deal with … I work really hard to get sometimes crumbs. I feel blessed and lucky to have the career that I have. But there are times that I’ve been beat up in this business. It hasn’t just been roses and fairytales. It’s been a tough road.”

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