2022 National Board Of Review Awards Gala

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During a recent interview with The Breakfast Club, actress Aunjanue Ellis revealed that Will Smith played a huge part in negotiating salaries for cast members of King Richard.

The 53-year-old star said she wrote a letter to the Oscar-award nominee asking for help when she noticed that the film’s salary was on the lower end.

“He did, but I think what’s important to say about that…and I think it’s important that I say this. After you get the job, the fight is not over. You know you have to fight for equal pay and that kind of thing,” Ellis told Charlemagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy, during her appearance on Mar. 17. “I did that job, and I’m thankful for it, but I could have gotten paid better. So I told him this, and he did something about it.”

Ellis’ black girl magic worked too. Not only was her salary increased, but the rest of the cast received a boost in pay as well.

“When the Black women do well, everybody does well,” she added.


Ellis stars as the Williams sisters’ strong and grounded mother Oracene Price in King Richard. Price worked alongside the superstar tennis duo’s father Richard Willams as they helped to cultivate the girl’s athletic prowess into the Wimbledon champs we know today. Ellis is up for a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony set to take place on Mar. 27.  Smith has also received an Oscar nod for his stunning portrayal of Richard Williams, Venus and Serena’s determined father. From training on tennis courts in Compton to competing in Grand Slam competitions, Richard played a vital role in shaping the girls’ unyielding commitment and keen intuition. The 53-year-old Hollywood veteran has earned himself a nomination for Best Actor. If he does win, this will be his first Oscar.

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