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Taraji P. Henson wants the world to focus on The Color Purple for the “beautiful” film that it is, not any behind-the-scenes drama.

THR Presents Live: The Color Purple

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During her press tour for The Color Purple, Henson has garnered a lot of attention for shining a light on the pay disparity among Black actresses in Hollywood. Because of that, many people started to point the finger at Oprah Winfrey, saying that her role as producer on the film must mean she is at fault, in some way, for the film’s actresses not being properly compensated.

Both Oprah and Taraji have denied that there’s any sort of feud between them, and now, the latter is sending a message to anyone focusing on those rumors instead of the actual film.

In a new interview with NBC Today, Henson said: “I hope they can focus back onto this film, because right now, to me, it feels like what I said is now becoming louder than this beautiful film.”

“And that’s not fair to me, or anybody in the film,” she continued. “Because the film deals with women who are oppressed — who live in an oppressed system. Men and women. And all the characters in that film except for the white people. So that movie is about healing. That movie is about sisterhood.”

Winfrey previously denied having any influence over anyone’s salary as a producer, but insisted she did everything she could to help out the film’s stars.

“Whenever I heard there was an issue or there was a problem, there was a problem with a cars or the problem with their food, I would step in and do whatever I could to make it right,” she told ET on the red carpet of the Golden Globes. “And I believe that she would even vouch for that and say that is true.”

Henson echoed that same sentiment in her Today interview, remembering how Oprah reached out to her personally to offer her some help.

“I see what’s going on, but there’s nothing to spin there,” she said of the rumored feud. “You saw the woman doing the electric slide in the dust with us. She was right there in the field doing the electric slide.”

“She held our hands the entire production,” Henson continued. “She showed up, she was there — there are producers that don’t show up on set.”

Taraji went on to say, “You know, she called me, she called me personally. Not my team, not my people — me. And asked me, ‘Taraji, if there’s anything you need, you let me know.’ And I said it with a shaking voice, I was like, ‘Well, yeah,’ — since she asked. And I told her and she fixed everything the next day.”

She added, “And what you’re not gonna do is pit two Black women together — not on my watch.”


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