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Taye Diggs Says He and His Co-Stars Were Lowballed to Make ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ Points to Race as a Factor

Just because a piece of art is beloved by the Black community, it doesn’t mean that it’s valued by the decision-makers who back it. Taye Diggs can attest to that, because he said movie executives didn’t see his movie “Best Man” or its sequel “The Best Man Holiday” as something of great worth.

Diggs spoke about the popular romantic comedy films during a recent interview on Netflix’s “Strong Black Lead” podcast at the 25:49 mark.

Taye Diggs said the low pay he and his co-stars received for “The Best Man Holiday” made the experience “bittersweet.” (Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

“That s–t was bittersweet because that was right in the middle of like Black s–t and white s–t,” he explained. “That movie did really, really well … They’re making plans when they’re writing the movie. The first one [the studio should have been like], ‘This should do so well, let’s set some time aside, money for the second and third one.’”

“I feel like they looked at Black movies like a cute little project. Whereas if it had been a superhero movie with some no-name white kid, it would have already been written,” said Diggs. The original film, which was made for $9 million and backed by Universal Studios, grossed $34 million in the United States.

He then said that when “The Best Man” writer and director Malcolm D. Lee — a cousin of Spike Lee, who produced the first movie — made moves to begin a sequel, the studio was slow to get behind him.

Eventually, Malcolm Lee, who by this time would be the producer as well, had to show the studio that people would have a lot of interest in a sequel to “The Best Man,” Diggs said. When that was confirmed by a reaction on Twitter, Diggs claims, “The Best Man Holiday” was greenlit. It was released in 2013, 14 years after the original. The sequel, made for $17 million, would gross $70 million domestically, including $30 million on its opening weekend.

“All of us had been working and we knew our worth and all of us had to say, ‘OK, we want to be a part of this and it’s special, but at the same time if we do it we gotta take half the amount of money that we’re worth,’” Diggs explained. “But we all did it. We were like, it’s bigger than them.”

His account of how executives didn’t value “The Best Man” despite it being loved by the Black community may remind some of Tracee Ellis Ross‘ explanation as to why her popular series “Girlfriends” abruptly went off the air in 2008. The show never received a proper goodbye after being on air for eight seasons.

“Our show, I don’t think was as important to them as it was to our community,” said Ellis Ross around the time she and her “Girlfriends” co-stars reunited on the show “black-ish” last year.

Besides Diggs, “The Best Man” and “The Best Man Holiday” starred Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall, Melissa De Sousa and Monica Calhoun.

Last month, during an interview on “The Talk Take 5,” Diggs said “The Best Man” will most likely be turned into a television series.

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