A new report from Forbes has unveiled this year’s set of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, but the list of 10 women leaves black actresses out.
For the second year in a row Jennifer Lawrence lands the top spot on the list, pulling in $46 million in the year from June 1, 2015 to June 1, 2016. Melissa McCarthy comes in second with $33 million while Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston take third and fourth place with $25 and $21 million respectively in earnings.
Today’s list of the highest paid actors came out, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson taking the top spot and making $64.5 million dollars — almost $20 million more than Lawrence.
These reports speak to the undeniable pay gap between actors and actresses, but it also reflects the fact that a black actress has not been on the Forbes list for at least a decade.
“Black women have the hardest gig in show business,” Chris Rock told the New Yorker for a profile on Leslie Jones back in January of this year. “You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman — if she was Black, she’d really have something to complain about.”
Rock is speaking the truth. Black actresses such as Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and many others have had to do supporting roles for decades in order to receive some of the roles they have now. Davis was a part of the recently released DC Movies superhero film Suicide Squad, which was a commercial success, while Henson not only serves as one of the lead roles in hit TV series Empire, but will also be portraying famed black NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson in next year’s Hidden Figures film.
Yes, we’re beginning to see more black women in bigger leading roles, which will hopefully lead to them appearing on Forbes’ highest paid actresses list. But until then it’s further proof that Hollywood still has a long way to go.