“We’re Not Valued the Way I Believe We’re Supposed to be’: Larenz Tate Says Black American Actors Are Less ‘Valued’ In Hollywood Compared to Black British Actors

Larenz Tate says he’s happy there’s more work for Black actors in Hollywood today, but during a recent interview, he stated that some studios favor British actors over Americans.

Tate has been a staple in Hollywood since the early 1990s and is known for starring in films such as “Love Jones,” “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” “Menace II Society,” “Dead Presidents” and “Girls Trip.”

Larenz Tate
Larenz Tate appears on the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast on April 25. (Photo: Earn Your Leisure screenshot / YouTube)

During the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast, the “Ray” actor told hosts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings that he’s always happy when Black actors are working but noted the discrimination American actors face in the entertainment industry by white executives who favor Black British actors over Black American actors.

“I don’t look at it as a competition. I look at the collective,” said Tate. “There’s brothers who are doing it, whether they’re doing it here in America, whether they doing it, you know over, from the U.K. or even from the mother continent, Africa. I’m cool with whatever it’s gonna be.”

Related: Idris Elba Weighs In on the Outrage Surrounding the Debate on British Actors Landing American Roles

Tate was asked his thoughts on the British invasion and the decline in opportunities for American Black actors.

“But I feel like Hollywood believes there’s more value in British Black actors than they do in Black actors,” he continued. “And I think a part of it goes into, that ‘Oh, they have an audience over there, so they translate internationally.’ Going back to that, what I think is, you know, a hoax. That we don’t sell or we don’t, we’re not valuable.”

He added, “I think that Hollywood is in love with the U.K. and all things British. And so, I feel like the Black American actor, is, you know, I see what that decline is. But, you know, we’re here.”

Idris Elba, “Snowfall” star Damson Idris, and Daniel Kuulaya of “Get Out” are all British actors who have led successful careers in Hollywood. “All American’s Daniel Ezra and “BMF” star Eric Kofi-Abrefa are also on that list.


Tate went on to say that he was happy for the Black collective and the British stars that are killing the acting game in Hollywood. The “Power” actor also spoke on the difficulties involved in filmmaking and getting paid fairly as a Black actor. He explained that an actor is only as good as their last project, and for executives it’s about the bottom line.

“We’re told we’re not as valuable as our white counterparts and that’s been something historically that you know we’ve been fighting against for so long. Black men and particularly Black women, we don’t get what we deserve.”

The 47-year-old said he learned to negotiate backend royalties both nationally and internationally after learning that his films were selling overseas. He was initially told otherwise by executives about Black films and actors.

“It was said that Black people don’t sell overseas,” he said. “I would go overseas. I would travel and I would think like no one knew who I was because they said we’re not valuable over there … but that was not the truth.”

Tate added that people who didn’t even speak English would repeat the dialogue to his films. “They know how to say, ‘What you say about my mama?'”

He later learned that those backend royalties from overseas were going to the producers and executives instead of the actors who earned them.

“We work twice as hard to get…twice as less as our counterparts,” said Tate. “And that being said, it’s the same way, we’re not valued the way I believe we’re supposed to be valued.”

Tate’s remarks sparked a debate online between fans who agreed with him and other

“I’ve said this over and over Hollywood loves casting non-American black,” noted one fan.

“I think Larenz was absolutely right. It’s not about African Americans creating a diaspora war with our brothers and sisters,” added one. “Not wanting to see them flourish, it’s Hollywood who finds more ‘value’ in international Black people; throw an English accent on ‘it’, gold.”

Elsewhere during the interview, Tate discussed his upcoming docuseries about social injustice and some of the leading ladies he’s done films with.

After working with the likes of Nia Long, Lela Rochon, Vivica A. Fox, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Halle Berry, he said he aspires to work with Sanaa Lathan, Regina King, and do another film with his “Girl Trip” co-star Regina Hall.

Back to top