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Danielle Brooks gave props to Taraji P. Henson and Oprah Winfrey for “correcting” issues that arose on the set of The Color Purple. 

During a Q&A session with the Hollywood Reporter’s Nekesa Mumbi Moody on Jan. 5., Brooks thanked her co-star Henson and the film’s producer Oprah for being a “voice box” when the cast encountered issues on set. 

“I remember when we first came in, and we were doing rehearsal, and they put us all in the same space. Like, we didn’t have our own dressing rooms at the time,” Brooks, 34, said before she turned to Oprah and quipped, “Sorry, Ms. O, but we didn’t have no food…and you corrected it for us.”

Henson, 53, told Moody and the audience that she called Oprah right away to “fix” the issue when she discovered the error —  and Brooks appreciated the sentiment.

“I’ve done a lot of TV. I’ve done a lot of films, specifically independent films, but this is my first studio film,” Brooks said. “So, sometimes you do come in just saying okay, well, I’m gonna just take whatever they give me. I’m just happy to be here. You know, but you spoke up for us, and you showed me how to do that. But what I really enjoy is your sisterhood is authentic. And it’s real,” she added.

This isn’t the first time that Henson has spoken out about the subpar working conditions actors encounter in Hollywood. 

During an interview with the New York Times earlier this month, the former Empire star said that she almost walked away from The Color Purple after producers behind the musical allegedly offered her a measly salary. With help from Oprah, Henson fought for execs to pay her and other film members a proper fee.

“It hurts my feelings when it’s not reciprocated, but I know this world is cold, and nobody really cares, and you got to go out and fight for what you want,” she said. “What else do I need to do to prove my worth? Now that I’m singing and dancing for you, and I climbed up on the table 88 times with my knobby knees and had to ice my knees in between takes, what else do I need to do?”

Further along in the interview, the Tinseltown veteran alleged that the musical’s studio production staff provided the cast with “rental cars” instead of security to drive to and from the film’s set in Atlanta.

“What do I look like, taking myself to work by myself in a rental car?” Henson said she hadn’t seen a raise since starring in 2018’s Proud Mary. “So I was like, ‘Can I get a driver or security to take me?’ I’m not asking for the moon. They’re like, ‘Well, if we do it for you, we got to do it for everybody.’ Well, do it for everybody! It’s stuff like that, stuff I shouldn’t have to fight for… I’m tired of proving myself. It seems like every time I break a glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate for another job, I’m right back like I did nothing.”

In late December, Henson broke down in tears during a viral interview on SiriusXM while discussing the pay disparity issues she often faces in Hollywood despite having an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win under her belt.

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do [and] getting paid a fraction of the cost,” Henson tearfully expressed. “I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over…Every time I do something and break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate, I’m at the bottom again, like I never did what I just did, and I’m tired. I’m tired. It wears on you. What does that mean? What is that telling me? If I can’t fight for them coming up behind me, then what the fuck am I doing?”

Oprah responds to Taraji P. Henson’s production concerns.

During a brief red carpet interview with Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards Jan. 7, Oprah weighed in on Henson’s production concerns on set of The Color Purple. The media maven made it clear that she did everything in her power to support Henson and the cast whenever she heard there “was an issue.”

Listen to what she had to say below.



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