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2019 Sundance Film Festival - 'Luce' Premiere

Source: George Pimentel / Getty

In 2019, talented women are still relying on men to advocate on their behalf for deserved higher salaries at work.

Oscar winner Octavia Spencer revealed during a Sundance panel that basketball champion, LeBron James ,had to vouch for her to receive a higher pay for her role in their upcoming Netflix series.

James is producing the Madame C.J. Walker series, that documents the life of the first Black female millionaire in U.S. history.

“I have to say, when I was negotiating my deal for Madam C.J., LeBron James had to intervene,” Spencer said, according to IndieWire. “So we need all our male counterparts to be in the fight with us.”

Spencer’s admission comes almost a year to the day where she confessed another ally, actress Jessica Chastain, vouched for more pay for Octavia for their 2011 film, “The Help.”

“I love that woman, because she’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer said of her former co-star.

“She said, ‘Octavia we’re gonna get you paid on this film. You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing.’ Fast forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for.”

While it’s incredible that both men and women have aligned themselves to help the actress get paid what she deserves, it’s still disturbing that without these allies, Black women would continually be left behind in the race for equality.

“I think my goal is to make sure that all women of color get equal pay, and all women get equal pay,” Spencer told audiences at the Sundance panel.

“The only way to do it is to have these conversations, to talk numbers with your costars. Jessica and I stood together, and that was interesting that she would take that position — well, I mean, she is Jessica Chastain — but we also need advocates and allies in negotiating.”

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