“Black women have the hardest gig in show business,” he told the New Yorker. “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.”
Back in October, The Hunger Games star penned a letter about getting paid less than her male counterparts.
“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.”
Lawrence is in her mid 20s and has won a Oscar. In addition, she is the star of a very successful franchise that rakes in millions at the box office. While her complaints about women deserving the same pay as their male peers is legitimate, Black actresses have far less opportunities and make less money than white women.
Rock points out that Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and many other Black actresses have had to grind it out in supporting roles for decades in order to get a starring role on their current TV shows. As progressive as Hollywood claims to be, audiences have seen the truth—Black women are still not given the opportunity to be the face of a major franchise. A prime example is the recent mega-blockbuster, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The words from Viola Davis’ Emmy speech ring true. Hollywood has to be willing to create roles for Black actresses. To that end, Rock praises the work of actress and comedienne, Leslie Jones, in the New Yorker.
“I mentioned her to several managers and agents over the years. Everybody passed. Lorne, because he’s the best at what he does, is the one who saw it. I don’t think he’d hired a cast member her age in a long time,” Rock said of Jones’ hiring at Saturday Night Live.
If Lawrence were a Black woman, there’s no doubt that her path would’ve been more difficult, and audiences may not have even had the opportunity to witness her talent. Hence, the disparity of opportunities for Black women and white women remains, and must be addressed.