Viola Davis says that she wants to be paid the same as Meryl Streep and other top white actresses. “People say, ‘You’re a Black Meryl Streep. You are and we love you.’ … ‘Well, then if there’s no one like me. You pay me what I’m worth,’” Viola said at the Women in the World Los Angeles Salon on Tuesday.
"I have a career that's probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver," said the actress and Juilliard graduate. "They all came out of Yale, they came out of Juilliard, they came out of NYU. They had the same path as me, and yet I am nowhere near them. Not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities, no where close to it."
While critics and fans have likened her work to major A-list stars like Streep, who she costarred alongside in Doubt, Davis said her compensation has not been comparable to her white contemporaries.
"People say, 'You're a black Meryl Streep … We love you. There is no one like you," she explained. "OK, then if there's no one like me, you think I'm that, you pay me what I'm worth."
Davis also said she's been disappointed with the roles available to her. "As an artist I want to build the most complicated human being but what I get is the third girl from the left," the How to Get Away With Murder star explained.
After years of making the most out of limited screen time, Davis said she's tired of hustling to prove herself. "It's gotten to the point [where] I'm no longer doing that," she said. "I'm not hustling for my worth. I'm worthy. When I came out of my mom's womb, I came in worthy."