When the five Black/Latino youths were called "The Central Park Five" in the press and wrongfully convicted of a brutal crime back in the 80s, Donald Trump spent big money taking out full page newspaper ad calling for their execution. He has never apologized. Today, those men are The Exonerated Five. Young Afro-Latino actor Jharrel Jerome was stunning as unjustly imprisoned Korey Wise in WHEN THEY SEE US, the story of the five and the disgusting miscarriage of justice. It was directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay. It's a moving, blistering work that I watched on Netflix. Jerome won for Lead Actor. Before WHEN THEY SEE US, he played a key character in the Oscar winner for Best Picture of 2016 ...
Bravo, Jharrel Jerome! They saw us! We are so very, very proud of you.
Preach it, Michelle Williams!
Do you mind if I add a personal story to give more perspective to the pay inequality that women of color endure?
Los Angeles is my hometown. I graduated from college in Milwaukee. I started my professional TV career in Milwaukee on the ABC affiliate. I was the city 's first African American film critic seen on weekly Milwaukee TV. This was in the 80s. On an independent TV station in Milwaukee, I also had a weekend half-hour film review show. I was half of a couple and we were a mighty fine pair.
In 1985, I landed my first New York City job and eventually get my own celebrity talk show on VH1. I had national credits. I got excellent write-ups in TV Guide, US Magazine, People and The New York Times. Fast forward to 2000. A noted TV columnist, and a friend of mine, hears from an ABC News producer that it's launching a live weekday magazine show and wants a weekly film reviewer. She mentioned me. The producer said, "Does he know anything about movies?" This was a middle-aged producer who'd been around for a while. The columnist told me that she replied, "Are you kidding?"
I pushed to get the audition. I got the job. Later, the producer admitted to me that she'd never looked at my resume or bio and was not aware of my history. The job utilized my new and classic film knowledge. I wrote the reviews, reviewed new DVDs, gave Women's History in Films every week, wrote for the show's website and did my weekly 8-minute segment without use of a TelePrompTer. I didn't need it. All the info was in my head. I produced my segments and I was given a title: Entertainment Editor. I was represented by a Broadcast/TV agent that year and notified him I got myself the job. I gave him all those details and added that it paid $500 a week. He said, "A spot like that on a national live show should pay $1500 a week." I told him who to call and negotiate.
The ABC News answer to him was "$500 -- and not a penny more."
My wonderful, longtime TV/Radio commercial agent got me auditions on a regular basis to do commercials and voiceover work, much of which aired in other parts of the country. If I ever booked something and the pay was $600 or less, Linda would never take a 10%. I would've gladly given it to her because she was terrific. But she wouldn't. She'd reply, "I"ll take my 10% when you make more money."
That Broadcast/TV agent was not my then-retired commercial agent. He could not get me a penny more. But because he'd done the work of trying to get me more money, he was contractually subject to a 10% of my $500 a week salary. He took that 10%.
There I was every Friday on live national TV in an ABC News production, doing the kind of work that was denied Black people when I watched network and local TV as a kid in South Central Los Angeles -- and my weekly take home pay after deductions that included an ex-agent's 10% came to $330. If I'd worked behind the counter at a Burger King, I would've made more money.
But I loved the job. Yet, I did think "It wouldn't be like this if I was a white guy on national TV."
So, if that's what I experienced as a Black man with network credits on my resume, think of how women of color are treated in the pay department.