Chris Rock: ‘Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood’

rock essence

Chris Rock has kept very quiet since the Oscar nominations were released last month. He tweeted the “white BET Awards” joke, but otherwise, he hasn’t made any public statements. Which I think is fine – he was hired to host the Oscars before #OscarsSoWhite Part Deux blew up, and it’s his call as to how much he speaks, what his jokes will be or even if he’ll back out of hosting. Essence notes in their cover story preview that this interview was conducted back in December, so while Rock confirms that he’s still going to host the Oscars, he said it before #OscarsSoWhite blew up. What I really like here is that he uses his platform to advocate for women of color, specifically black women in Hollywood.

Hosting the Oscars: “I’m going to do my best. It could go horribly wrong. Don’t ever think that it can’t. That’s when it goes wrong—when you don’t think there’s any chance of it going wrong. If you know it won’t, it probably won’t.”

Representation: “Black women are the least represented on-screen. They just are. You can go see a lot of movies and there’s not one black woman in there with, like, a real part. It’s a real, real, real problem.”

The challenges facing black actresses: “I’ve never done a movie, any movie, the silliest movie, where someone, some studio person hasn’t gone, ‘Does the girl have to be Black?’ It happens every time. Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood. Everybody’s talking about Jennifer Lawrence. Talk to Gabrielle Union. If you want to hear stories, talk to Nia Long. Talk to Kerry Washington. They would love to get to Jennifer Lawrence’s place, or just be treated with the same amount of respect.”

Whether he’s always advocated for women of color: “I think everything I’ve ever done has had a significant role for a Black or brown woman. I refuse not to. I’ve never gone into battle without a Black woman, you know, a movie battle. With Tichina Arnold in Everybody Hates Chris, I had to fight for Tichina. I’m not even going to tell you who the network wanted. She’s literally as good as Tina Fey or Julia Louis-Dreyfus or any of these chicks. They’re like, ‘Tichina who’?’”

Retirement: “I was with [Jerry] Seinfeld the other day. We were like, ‘What we got? Five years? Six years?’ Literally. That’s not saying making a living. It’s saying, ‘How much longer do you have where people are going to care [about] what you say?’”

[From Essence]

When Jennifer Lawrence wrote her essay about pay inequality, she acknowledged her privilege and she acknowledged that she was still in a rarefied class of female earners, but that what had happened to her was unfair and she felt a responsibility to speak about it publicly. Left unspoken was the fact that J-Law is in a position to become a public advocate for pay equality BECAUSE no one is going to Nia Long, Kerry Washington and Gabrielle Union and asking them about inequality.

I’m just saying… I believe Jennifer is on the same side as Gabby, Kerry and Nia, that her advocacy and ability to speak up (and still remain America’s Sweetheart) will help all women more than it will hinder. Rock seems to position them on opposite sides, like black women are more legitimately aggrieved than white women, thus it’s a competition to see who wins the prize for the Most Disadvantaged. I think even Jennifer would admit freely that she has it better than 99.99% of all other women in the industry, of all races and ages. Maybe Rock should name-check Patricia Arquette rather than J-Law, I’m just saying.

As for the rest of it… he’s absolutely right. And I think he has tried to be a champion for women of color throughout his career. The fact that producers have always tried to get the black actresses fired? Yikes. That says a lot about the industry too.


Photos courtesy of WENN, Essence.

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143 Responses to “Chris Rock: ‘Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood’”

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  1. Maya says:

    Better statement would be women of ALL colour gets paid less.

    • Psyren says:

      Yeah. Just like ALL lives matter. Right Maya?

      • Shea says:

        Psyren, nope. You’re way off the mark. Do you argue just for the sake of arguing?

        I agree with Maya. Indian and Asian women get paid the least in Hollywood, so Chris Rock should have said minority women/women of color get paid less than everybody.

        When people claim “ALL lives matter” in response to “black lives matter,” they are completely glossing over the fact that black people are targeted by police. Maya here is not doing that. She is doing the opposite: calling attention to the issues of minorities in general.

      • FingerBinger says:

        Shea Chris Rock is a black man talking to a black magazine about black issues. He’s not obligated to mention other minorities. It would nice but he doesn’t have to.

      • nn says:

        He is being interviewed by ESSENCE magazine. A magazine aimed at black women.
        It would be like arguing why Latina magazine focusing on mestiza/mestizo women ( which they mostly do) and complaining about why they don’t include black (non latina) women.
        Or a gay magazine focusing on gay people and complaining to them why they dont include heterosexual black women.
        Also, this is a common theme when it comes to unique issues facing black women, people want to shut the conversation down and make it about something else.
        Rarely do people actually want to listen and hear about the racism + sexism black women face. No, they want to take advantage of the attention black women are getting and put a spotlight on themselves.
        Instead of doing the work they want to jump on board when the train has already taken off.
        It’s almost laughable how predictable it is at this point.
        And it’s this sort of disregard for black women that is disappointing and why magazines like essence exists in the first place.
        No one has said asian and other WOC issues don’t matter but Chris was specifically talking about black women to a black women’s magazine.

      • nn says:

        I’m gonna need a drink for everytime someone says “What about the…”
        And it’s always when it’s about black women that little whataboutsthe comes up, very telling.

      • Kitten says:

        Interesting to view this thread after the Vergara one from today. As a white chick, I’m not even trying to dive into this argument (really I’m not) but I think it’s worth comparing the very divergent reactions on each post.
        It just seems like there are different expectations for Rock than for Vergara.

      • V4Real says:

        @Kitten I posted something similar down below. Like what @FingerBinger and @nn said, Rock is giving an interview to a Black magazine whose targeted audience is mainly Black women. Vergara gave an interview to a magazine targeted at whoever will buy it. I didn’t read any comments that said she should have said all POC instead of just Latinos.

        Perhaps if Chris was interviewing with a much broader magazine then I would understand if some asked the question “why not say all women of color.

      • HH says:

        I get what’s being said, however, as others have said it is Essence magazine, which specifically targets Black women. Also, my issue (that I’ve been struggling with for a while) is that when Blacks are starting a conversation and making what little headway we have it seems that our grievances all of sudden become the grievances of “minorities” and “people of color”. Until gains are made, I’m never quite sure where other minorities stand. I hear other minorities and POC speaking out, I also hear a lot of them mirroring statements of white supremacy and acquiescence: “Why are they always complaining? We have issues too, but you don’t hear us complaining. They always want a handout”…ETC. ETC. Some people want to say that Blacks dominate the conversation about diversity because the media cares about them more, but I also heavily think that minorities have attempted to distance themselves from Blacks in a racial and class hierarchical system. Granted this is all a byproduct of institutionalized racism founded in white supremacy, however, it is still highly problematic for other minorites and POC aligning themselves with Black struggles when convenient.

        ***I hope this was well stated and it was not intended to be offensive. However, my intentions my not negate the fact that it was. If so, I apologize. And welcome correction and discussion.

      • Goo says:

        Many are screaming diversity, but yet there is STILL a magazine that caters to POC….

      • Shea says:

        V4Real, HH:
        If Vergara had said, ‘Latinos are the LEAST represented group in Hollywood,’ I would have said something. I would have said something even if she was talking to a Latino magazine.

        But she didn’t say that. She said, ‘There aren’t enough writers creating things for Latinos.’ Why would anyone take any issue with that at all? She’s not bringing any other group into her statement, like Rock did.

        If Rock had worded his statement like Vergara and said: ‘Black women aren’t getting paid enough’ – no one would have an issue. But he didn’t say that at all.

        He said: ‘Black women get paid less than everybody [less than Hispanics, Asians, Indians, Etc.].’ He worded it poorly, and got called out for it. Are people so sensitive that they can’t handle a simple English lesson without feeling attacked?

      • Dangles says:

        “I’m gonna need a drink for everytime someone says “What about the…”
        And it’s always when it’s about black women that little whataboutsthe comes up, very telling.”

        When I come across #OscarsSoWhite articles I regularly bring up the fact that the Oscars usually snub non-English speaking films in the Best Pictue category. I don’t do it to gloss over the discrimination against black women, I do it to broaden the conversation about the xenophobia that is rife in Hollywood.

      • Anna says:

        @nn This!!! Thank you!!!

      • Anna says:

        @HH This right here: “Some people want to say that Blacks dominate the conversation about diversity because the media cares about them more, but I also heavily think that minorities have attempted to distance themselves from Blacks in a racial and class hierarchical system. Granted this is all a byproduct of institutionalized racism founded in white supremacy, however, it is still highly problematic for other minorities and POC aligning themselves with Black struggles when convenient.”
        Very well stated.

    • Shea says:

      I don’t know why everyone is getting up in arms about our correction. Chris made a factual statement: “black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood.” It’s a well-meaning statement but it is just not true. Maya and I just wanted to correct him. Yes, he is talking to Essence, but it is still not true.

      If he had said, “black women don’t get paid ENOUGH,” I would completely agree with him and not chime in. Black women do not get paid enough in Hollywood and that is a fact.

      And to @nn, who said, “Instead of doing the work they want to jump on board when the train has already taken off.”

      You sound very self-serving and narrow-minded. Personally, if I did the work to open the door for one disenfranchised group, I would love to keep it open for other disenfranchised groups. I would keep the door open and pull others through. You do this kind of work to make it easier for people like you.

      • Shea says:

        Sidenote: I am an Asian woman who is a proponent of #blacklivesmatter. My Asian friends are very vocal about police brutality against African-Americans. I have never once rebutted #blacklivesmatter with #alllivesmatter or #asianlivesmatter. It would be wrong of me to do so.

        But what I WILL do is correct an incorrect statement. It is important for minorities to keep our facts straight when we want political change. I am in no way discounting the pay disparity of black women.

      • nn says:

        Shea how do you know Indian and Asian women get paid the least in Hollywood?
        Like where did you get that from? You say it like it’s facts so I would love to know if you know more than Chris who actually works in Hollywood and knows the ins and outs.
        Just because you see less of Asian women doesn’t mean they get paid less.
        Btw I am not self serving and I would argue that black women are the least self serving in Hollywood and in America, it’s due to black women we use WOC instead of ‘black’, it’s to be inclusive of other women.
        No one requires asian women to be inclusive or latina mestiza women like Ms Vergara (is she even mestiza or is she white?), or any non black women.
        They are allowed to have their spaces to discuss their unqiue issues, but somehow black women are supposed to carry everyone else and put their needs first.
        You may not have intended it but your comment was very dismissive.

        ETA: At the THR roundtable Gina Rodriguez was very dismissive when Tracee Ross was talking about her experience as a black woman, she interrupted Tracee and made it all about her and recdirected the focus on latina issues, it was awkward and abrupt. She could have waited her turn and let Tracee finish…it reminded me of that.
        Someone like Viola Davis will not have the same experiences as America Ferrara. You can’t just lump everyone into a convenient “minority” box and say it’s all the same. It’s not. Black women have very unique issues just like asian women and non black latina women and native american women.
        I appreciate we all want the same thing but sometimes we need to focus on one group at the time and let each group have their say.

      • whatevers says:

        Are you serious? Black women only get paid more than Hispanic and Native American women. And not by much. He doesn’t need to speak to every POC since he was speaking to a Black magazine.

      • Shea says:

        @whatevers, Are *you* serious? You just admitted that black women do not get paid the least. He doesn’t need to speak to every POC, but if he mixes up facts then there will be corrections.

        @nn Through averages. The salaries of Halle Berry, Oprah, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Zoe Saldana, Gabrielle Union, Tracee Ellis Ross, Vanessa Williams, Thandie Newton, Rosario Dawson, Taraji P. Henson, Rashida Jones, etc. will bring up the average pay.

        I’m really not trying to discount black women’s issues. I’m very surprised and slightly disappointed at the strong response. I’ve been in Asian organizations where I’ve partnered with my black counterparts. I’ve seen them as allies and friends, and I’ve participated in their events. We are welcomed when we fight for #blacklivesmatter, but when I try to correct a statement about black women, I’m essentially told that it’s not my place, that we should focus on one group at a time. It’s hurtful when I see the black community as allies, but then I hear them say we are riding their coattails, they’re carrying us, etc. Good to know.

      • Colette says:

        I am curious how do you know how much Hispanic or Asian actresses get? It’s possible that since Chris has produced films he has some insider info about the salaries.So it’s possible as a group Black actresses get paid less than all other groups per capita.There are many Asian or Latina actresses like Jennifer Lopez ,Eva Mendez,Olivia Munn,Zoe Saldana,Rosario Dawson Sofia Vegaro ,etc who can bring up the average pay up

      • V4Real says:

        @Shea I believe @whatevers response was more of a question than a statement.

        Did you ever see the movie “My Cousin Vinnie”
        The Sherriff says to Ralph Machio’s character “When did you shoot the clerk?Machio’s character replies “I shot the clerk.
        He meant it as more of a question than an admission of guilt.

      • V4Real says:

        Post add on.
        I could be wrong but at least that’s how I took it.

      • Anna says:

        @nn Again, thank you.

    • Shea says:

      Woof, the discord in this comments section makes me sad. I’m sorry for being a part of it; I did not think it would go off the rails like this. (I really don’t have an issue with Chris’s message at all, it’s *how* he worded it that bothered the legal analyst in me.)

      But the bigger picture/problem is that it seems like different minority groups are clamoring for a disproportionately small piece of the pie. Equality isn’t a zero sum game. One group shouldn’t be threatened when another group makes a similar request. We shouldn’t compete with each other.

      While we are arguing about whose turn it is to speak, the people at the top are looking down at us all and laughing about us competing in the “oppression olympics.” Meanwhile, they don’t have to lift a finger.

      • nn says:

        The problem here Shea is that you are trying to shut the conversation down.
        You want it to be about ALL women of color, ignoring that each different group of women of color have unique experiences and separate discussions are needed at times.
        You still have not provided evidence for your claim that asian and indian (both are asian but nvm) are paid less than black women. You stated it as fact so I am waiting for those facts.
        No one is competing here. We just don’t want to silence anyone.
        I am not against discussing WOC as a whole but there is a time and place for everything. Right now the discussion was about black women because Chris specifically talked about black women.
        I want ALL women, white included, to thrive. I have nothing against anyone, I just know when to listen and let each woman have her say. If Jlaw wants to talk about her experience as a white woman I respect that and I listen.

    • bns says:

      He’s talking to a black magazine about black women. He didn’t say that other women of color don’t matter, but he’s talking about black women specifically.

    • censored says:

      @ Maya
      I find it interesting that Sofia Vergara also has a post speaking about Latinas not once did she say ALL POC and neither you or anyone else showed up there to reprimand her for it

    • Petra says:

      You get paid in Hollywood according to the money you generate. That’s why Denzel Washington gets paid $20 million a picture and why Eddie Murphy got paid so much. The biggest black female star was Halle Berry. She’s so rich she has to give child support to her exes. I can’t think of a big black female star at the moment who when their name goes on the marquee people all over the world will rush out to see their movie. So why should they be getting the big bucks? I’m sure Denzel doesn’t think he’s underpaid. He’s doing very well thank you and he never played the race card either. He just earned his way on merit with his massive star power and talent. Note how Denzel is refusing to get involved in the current debate. Believe me he would have been asked what he thinks – he’s refusing to discuss it. That does not surprise me. He is not a whiner.

    • TOPgirl says:

      On point Maya! Yes all women of color..Asian, Black, Indian..get paid less than anyone else. Chris needs to point that’s not just Black women..but all women of color.

    • FF says:

      Other WoC need Chris to speak on their issues as a man not even in their communities?

      What happened? They can’t speak for themselves and their communities all of a sudden?

      • Missy says:

        Jesus. No one said that. No WOC is demanding Chris/black people to be their spokesperson. People just want him to get his facts straight.

        When black people ask white people to shine a light on their own issues, do you say “they [black people] can’t speak for themselves and their communities all of a sudden”? Nope. Not a chance.

    • Fee says:

      Sad thing is, they look at the $ trail. A film starting Nia won’t make box office as JLaw. We need people demanding them, then going to see them. Many women, white, can’t carry a film on their own, sad but its the audience that pays these salaries with every dollar u dish at the box office. Zoe S can carry a film, plus ageism for women plays a bigger role. Studios care about $$$$, can they fill in the seats?

    • Elsie Otter says:

      Wait, did Chris ACTUALLY say, “Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood[?]” Or did the author of this article make it up for clickbaity purposes. Because I’m not seeing that quote in the article. This might be a whole lot of hooplah over nothing.

      It’s irresponsible journalism to start a race argument, but hey, at least they got 140+ comments. Smh.

  2. geneva says:

    only thing I can add to this is that black women get more and better roles than Filipina, Chinese, Thai, Burmese, Indian etc. women. Asian women don’t even get roles for the most part.

    • lilacflowers says:

      And when they do, they’re usually some martial arts expert villain.

      • Rosalee says:

        It’s incredibly rare to see a modern Aboriginal woman – even in crowd shots I rarely think “Hey she looks like a Neechi” ..we appear to be stuck in no speaking parts in westerns or the downtrodden wife of a trapper. It’s been years since there was a Thunderheart. In Dances with Wolves the focus was on the non-Aboriginal adopted woman and the white savior (sorry folks – but there is always a white savior in movies depicting Aboriginal people) This year’s Tigerlilly was not Aboriginal.. you’d think we’re an extinct race.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Rosalee so glad you brought up Dances with Wolves, I used to joke about what luck he had to find her, with her tawny hair and designer buckskins…it would have been so much more true to the story for him to fall in love with an aboriginal woman.

      • helena says:

        apsolutely agree with you. all this talk is not about black people. it’s about diversity. so, white, black, asian,latinos,indian…BUT also…not only skinny people, young people, but also plump people, older people…you know…many white actors also are ignored. only white, skinny, young woman or white,muscular, young guy. that’s it.

      • Kip says:

        Or prostitue or hypersexualised doll …

    • TheOtherMaria says:

      Hell, neither do Latinas, we’re less than 5% regarding screen presence yet the most sexualized out of all women on film….

      That being said, these facts have nothing to do with what Rock said and take away from the point he was trying to make, IMO.

      • Erinn says:

        To be fair though, his points are also taking away from Jennifer Lawrence’s. So it’s the same kind of thing.

        Women get the short end of the stick as a whole, and minorities have it even worse unfortunately. It doesn’t mean that anyone is less deserving of moving up to fair wages.

      • Lizzie McGuire says:

        He makes a good point but he’s also missing the whole equal pay that J Law is advocating for. She acknowledge she doesn’t have it as bad as other women, not dismissing anyone. All minorities have it worse, less represented, paid less & having roles that lean towards a racist stereotype. Being a women & a minority, so yeah maybe talking to Viola David or Kerry Washington will give us a better point of view, but let’s not diss J Law’s equal pay advocacy.

      • Alex says:

        Exactly. What Jen’s essay was about was women as a WHOLE. and she recognized her privilege to fight for herself now that she has status. That’s a good thing. If there’s one thing that irks me is when people are so into fighting they will attack any ally that we have. Would I rather have people talk to Gabrielle about the intersectionality of being black and a female in the industry? Sure. But if Jen gets the ball rolling to where people WILL talk to her now that the topic is raised I cannot hate that. We need allies not more enemies. Even MLK recognized that the Civil Rights movement needed white allies…now is no different

        Everything else he said was spot on

      • Barnes says:

        “Jen’s essay was about women as a WHOLE”

        Except there’s a long history of people saying women and really meaning “white women”, as if women of other races don’t exist. Just look at Julie Deply’s recent comment claiming life would be easier if she were black instead of a woman, which suggests that black women don’t exist and aren’t continualy degraded and excluded at a much larger rate than their white counterparts. Chris Rock didn’t miss the point of Jennifer Larwence’s essay. He knows that women are paid much less than men, he was simply trying to shine a light on the fact that black women have it far worse in those regards, because not a lot of other people will.

        Also, it’s a little telling that the writer spent most of this article defending Jennifer Lawrence when she wasn’t even being attacked. “How dare this black men say anything almost negative about this sweet, blonde, white girl.”

      • Alex says:

        I’m black myself but this time her essay wasn’t a race point it was a gender point. And if Jen had mentioned WOC I absolutely believe people would’ve jumped down her throat. And sure WOC do have it worse but can we not celebrate the point of her essay instead of saying “well what about ____”. Its not taking away from say Viola’s talking points (which is always about women and women of color) to talk about women as a whole. She got the ball rolling not people can unpack the conversation further.
        Again sometimes allies cannot win.

  3. mindydopple says:

    This is where pay inequality and race intersect and I think it’s important to recognize. Way to go Chris Rock! I seriously still don’t understand why Being Mary Jane gets no love. It’s amazing and Gabrielle Union and the whole cast are amazing.

    • iGotNothin says:

      I honestly think that is simply because the show is on BET. People tend to be dismissive of BET (and sometimes rightfully so). If it were on a different network and reached a wider audience I think it would get much more attention. The show is very good.

    • Cynthia says:

      I love Being Mary Jane! I loved that Viola Davis also recognized Gabby in her speech on black leading ladies in her Emmy speech.

    • AG-UK says:

      Me too love that show the cast is very good. I have to find it online here as in the UK it comes on but no guarantee..

  4. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    “like black women are more legitimately aggrieved than white women, thus it’s a competition to see who wins the prize for the Most Disadvantaged.”

    …but they are and it’s not…but when you crunch the numbers it’d be dishonest to not realize the sooner you change skin tones the harder it gets. This isn’t a competition with white women but it mirrors history where when white women were fighting to be treated as equals other races were fighting to not be treated like animals.

    Honestly I don’t blame J-Law. I think she occupies a place of both Privelage and disadvantage. I can NOT point to another young white actress that has had the career she’s had recently. This does not mean she won’t face not being paid enough, that is what feminism deals with.

    At the same time I also CAN’T name a single young minority actress who has had half her success or attention in the last five years. The closest I come to is Keke Palmer who for someone breaking boundaries and making impressive strides is woefully slept upon and who, if I’m honest, I hate for the stereotypical roles she’s put in. A young Latina, Asian, or Indian actress? Can barely name them at all.

    • Marty says:

      +1000 Eternal.

    • Kitten says:

      Your comments are always so f*cking spot-on.

    • Alicia says:

      I really don’t understand the notion that Lawrence isn’t being paid enough. If anything, she’s the most overpaid person in Hollywood. She’s never carried a movie to box office success on her name alone (Joy may actually LOSE money), yet she’s getting $20 million a picture. Crazy.

      • Ennie says:

        She is over paid, but compare her current situation with countless others male actors who have been in the highest paid spot. Many of them were not good actors at all, mainly action stars.
        Her attractive is that she is bankable (I think she is a good actress, on top of that), other lousy male actors have been over paid but are/have been bankable too. Compared to them , she was paid less, that’s undeniable.

    • whatthe says:

      “This isn’t a competition with white women but it mirrors history where when white women were fighting to be treated as equals other races were fighting to not be treated like animals.”

      This is so powerful, I will remember it for the rest of my life.

    • Anna says:

      This x10000000

    • Tiff says:


  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I agree with what he said. I don’t think he meant it as a criticism of Jennifer Lawrence or as a contest for who is more aggrieved. He was just saying that the problem of wage inequality goes deeper for women of color, and it does. That doesn’t mean Jennifer shouldn’t speak up, but there should be an awareness that she is the tip of the iceberg.

  6. Sixer says:

    “Does the girl have to be Black?”

    Oh my god. That is just the whole hideousness of it all in one short, toe-curling, make-you-die-inside, sentence, isn’t it?

    • Greenieweenie says:

      White is the status quo, unless there’s an inescapable reason why a character *must* be something else!

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      The sad thing? I’ve heard that exact comment before.

      “Does it have to be a woman? WHY is it a woman? Okay, but why an Indian woman?”

      Apparently people of different races are puppets waiting on hooks until we have a reason WHY we need them.

    • Sixer says:

      That *is* sad.

      Honestly? I don’t know if it makes me feel upset, angry, sick, guilty, or a foul melange of all those things. I suppose it should make me feel militant, and it does, but it also makes me feel horrible and powerless. And I’m white, so god knows how it makes POC feel. Then I feel bad for feeling bad and making it about me!

      They are just seven words but they say a LOT.

      • Brittney B. says:

        “And I’m white, so god knows how it makes POC feel. ”

        Over the past few years, this has been on a constant loop in my head… if I’m outraged, how must it feel for the people who can’t escape this reality even for a second? If I’m marginalized as a white woman, how much harder would I have to work if I was the “wrong” gender AND race?

        That’s why I don’t get white feminists — as in people who practice white feminism and reject intersectionality — at all. It doesn’t minimize your own experience to acknowledge that people of color have to fight even harder. If anything, it should make you empathize and work harder to help them.

      • Sixer says:

        Mr Sixer says it is because the human instinct is to suck up and punch down.

        That seems impossibly bleak to me though.

        I prefer to say that all this stuff is not a hierarchy, it’s a Venn diagram. And if people would only imagine it in that way instead of being constantly vigilant not to lose a rung in their place on the hierarchy ladder, they might be more prepared to acknowledge the struggles of others.

      • Brittney B. says:

        Sixer, that’s a really good way of looking at it: a Venn diagram. It’s a good way to visualize intersectional feminism and other movements that affect multiple minorities.

        (Side note: it’s also useful for my own animal activism! People like to ask why I don’t care as much about humans, but animal welfare standards affect humans in many ways too… labor standards, environmental preservation, economic stability, physical health, etc. In short: thank you for that!!)

        Also, I may have to steal his “suck up and punch down” line… it’s sad but true.

      • BritAfrica says:

        Me too Sixer! The ‘suck-up’ and ‘punch down’ line makes so much sense. I, too, will be using that line going forward…

      • Sixer says:

        BritAfrica! I’ve been looking for you! You wanted papers on elite cultural matching in hiring. I know it was women and the UK you were centred on, but here’s a US paper that I think would help. I only remembered it days after we spoke!

        Hope it helps!

        Brittney – yes, it works for animals. And indeed, why shouldn’t it!

    • Brittney B. says:

      It’s especially hateful when you consider the opposite scenario.

      There’s almost NEVER a reason that a female character *has* to be white. Unless it’s a historical reenactment (and even then, we don’t afford historical figures of color the same right, so maybe that’s moot too). Most female parts are so one-dimensional that literally nothing about the role is distinctive. But women of color only get to play characters who have a race-related character arc; I can’t think of a single fictional white woman whose whiteness is a factor in the plot.

      Same goes for white guys, though. Guys in general, actually. I think of Salt getting rewritten for Angelina — not saying that movie was excellent, but the genders could easily be switched for most action movies, and instead the default is male unless there’s some *reason* (e.g. “we want Angelina” or “she has to prove herself to the guys”) to cast a woman.

    • INeedANap says:

      And yet there are hordes of morons who think this nation is post-racist. That’s what gets me, we have hard proof that people of color and women get the short end of the stick, and yet they deny it.

      Also, let’s not forget that Chris Rock, a man, is saying this. It’s awesome he’s helping us out but it’s sad that some men only listen to other men.

      • Brittney B. says:

        If anything, Pres. Obama’s election and re-election only amplified and exposed the amount of racism that exists in this country. Between social media giving people of color a bigger platform, and politicians straight-out refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of a black First Family for nearly a decade…

        As a white person, I can confidently say that a decade ago, it was a LOT easier to pretend racism didn’t exist if it didn’t personally affect you. It was a lot more common for white people to equate racism with using the N-word, and fail to see (or refuse to see) the racism permeating their society and giving them an advantage every day.

  7. lilacflowers says:

    “She’s literally as good as Tina Fey or Julia Louis-Dreyfus or any of these chicks”

    She very well may be but so long as men in the women refer to any women as “chicks,” there will never be income equality for any women.

    • Crumpet says:

      Yes, that struck me as well. He says he is an advocate, but shows himself to be as much a part of the problem as anyone else. I do believe he means well, but he needs to remove the log from his own eye before he can do anything about the splinter in a WOC’s eye.

    • Hmmm... says:

      Any time I hear someone refer to women as “chicks” I cringe, then I think of “hocus pocus”

  8. Josefina says:

    I didn’t read it as a dig on JLaw at all. More like black women also have stories to share about discrimination, but people won’t read their essays because they are not the it-girls of the moment and will never come close to it.

    • Brittney B. says:

      Yeah, I think he’s calling out the media more than Jennifer herself.

      I do wish she’d use her platform to raise up the voices of women of color… but even if she did, the larger problem would still exist: the media grants white celebrities far more respect and visibility for the same amount of talent (or less, usually).

  9. Talie says:

    I agree with that you said about Jennifer — but she knew that would happen. You can’t make everyone happy. Of course, people will always compare and contrast because they love a fight.

  10. Nancy says:

    Just so you know Chris, my husband and I are both attorneys, although these days I spend more time researching at home since my motherhood days…..but his fees were always shall we say healthier than mine and we have the same education. Women in general in any profession make less than their male peers. I do like him though…..especially his documentary on woc hair. Very educating and interesting. I’m sure the Oscars will be entertaining and not too controversial as he is a smart, funny man who can get a message across without hitting you over the head with it.

    • sanders says:

      For white women who make less than white men, it is about sexism. When a woman of colour makes less than a white women, It is a combination of racism and sexism. Chris saying this provides a comprehensive, rather than partial understanding of institutional discrimination. I appreciate his comment and like that he is able to look beyond his own self interest.

      • loladoesthehula says:

        +1 Sanders. Literally no one is saying white women don’t deal with sexism. Cute attempt at derailing though.

      • mindydopple says:

        This a hundred times! WOC (and I’m including myself as a dark skinned hispanic) get the double whammy of racism and sexism. No one is competing but acknowledging that in this example, WOC actresses have a harder fight to fight. This is why I love Being Mary Jane so much, they tackle such hard subjects and this reminds me of their episode on how (their words) black men aren’t outraged/fight for their (black) women equally as black women do.

      • Anna says:

        Thank you

  11. NinaNeon says:

    This whole competition about who is the most disadvantaged really bugs me, especially as noone in either the OscasSoWhite discussion or the pay gap discussion seems to acknowledge that it is not just race that is discriminated against – where are the trans or disabled people who get offered oscar-worthy roles? oh yes, they don’t get offered any, because all the roles are being played by cisgendered/nondisabled people who DO get a nomination. It’s a much bigger issue than race, and zooming in on race or sex is not helpful and just perpetuates the blocking out of other minorities.

    • sanders says:

      I would agree that the conversation needs to be more inclusive beyond race and gender. We have such a long way to go in terms of recoginzing the wide range of diverisity amongst us.
      I think we all win when the conversation expands and becomes more inclusive.

      I don’t view it as a competition, I simply recognize we live in an extremely stratified and hierarchical society. This hierarchy is reflected in how discrimination operates. It only takes a minute of self reflection to recoginze ones own place in the this hierarchy. I think the problem for most people is they look up and are hyper aware of who is above them in the hierarchy but rarely look down and acknowledge the difficutlies of those below.

  12. loladoesthehula says:

    I wish he’d said women of colour as a whole. He’s spoken about the lack of representation of non-black minorities before though, so I’ll cut him a break on the factual inaccuracy. The wage gap debate is always Peak White Feminism (ugh). It’s great to have a discussion that addresses race as well. White actresses don’t only occupy a position of privilege compared to actresses of colour, they’re also above men of colour in the hierarchy.

    • V4Real says:

      But why should he say women of color as a whole. He’s talking specifically about Black Women in an interview in a Black magazine. On today’s post with Sofia Vergara she was asked about diversity in her interview and she didn’t say all women of color; she specifically said Latinos. No one is saying but why didn’t she say all POC . Maybe if the interview was with Rolling Stone or Times Magazine then I will see your point of saying this.

      • Linn says:

        He doesn’t have to bring up the topic of other women of color at all but when he says that black women get paid less than EVERYBODY he is the one bringing other women of color into the mix.

        “Black women are horribly underpayed” perfectly fine statement.
        “Black women get paid less than everybody ” factual statement that would look much better if he had brought actual numbers that show that they get payed less than let’s say native american women.

        Sofia said ” The problem is not the networks or directors: it’s that there aren’t enough writers creating things for Latinos.”
        She didn’t say there are less things created for Latinos than for everybody else.

        I applaud and support Chris’s intentions, but I do think it could have been better worded

      • loladoesthehula says:

        What Linn said. Like I said in my comment, I only question the accuracy of his statement, actual stats don’t support it. It would only be factually correct if he were talking about woc as a whole. Other than that, I love him and always appreciate his thoughts on the subject. There aren’t many famous black men who cape for black women the way he does.

      • Shea says:

        Ditto Linn

      • word says:

        I agree Linn.

      • V4Real says:

        But he still doesn’t have to say WOC as a whole because he is solely speaking about Black women and how they are the lesser paid minority. Chris has directed, produced films and he’s been in the business for a long time. Perhaps he has some insight as to how much these women are paid. He doesn’t have to give you actual numbers of how much they make.

        And my point remains the same. No one batted an eye when Sofia only spoke about Latinos but when it comes to Chris he has to include all other WOC. He does not. Damn can Black people have their time to complain about what’s going on with the Black community without it turning into oh, but what about us too? Sofia just spoke on behalf of her own ethnicity and that’s fine but damn Chris to hell because he spoke on behalf of his own race.

      • me says:


        Lesser paid minority compared to who? How would he know Black females get paid less than Chinese females for instance? Has he ever even hired or worked with a Chinese actress to know this? I think people are just pointing out that he shouldn’t have said Black women are the least represented and least paid. Yes, compared to White actors, sure.

  13. CornyBlue says:

    Well I am glad that atleast Chris Rock can come up and talk about internationality. As you mentioned I doubt JLaw is against it but i very much if she or other white feminsts in Hollywood are aware as to just how deep this problem runs.

  14. serena says:

    I love this man. Yeah, it isn’t a competition but making comparison can’t be avoided and to me that means the disparity is that big.
    JLaw is no exception, I get you like her a lot Kaiser, but she why wouldn’t she be brought up when talking about white privilege? Like you said, she got to make that amazing inequality-pay speech because SHE could!
    She’s the IT girl right now so it’s only RIGHT that she should get all these questions or arguments, because most of the good roles -even those for 40years old women- go to her. It’s no small matter. So no, he shouldn’t name-check Patricia Arquette because nobody talks about her as much as JLaw.

    ps. No shade to Jlaw in this particular case, though generally I don’t like her.

  15. mark says:

    What is with americans and their oppression olympics?

    Jennifer spoke about equal pay and somehow she she doesn’t care about black women is mad ignorant?

    “If you thin nia long has it bad what about laverne cox’

    The way americans on the internet go about someone as already said that. Stop chasing controversy everywhere.

    Plus i never see nia long or Gabrielle union covered here.

  16. Karen says:

    I have some issues with his answers but loved that he namechecked Tichina Arnold, she was AMAZING on everybody hates chris, I loved that show so much.

  17. andrew says:

    Yeah, cos Malia Obama working in Hollywood without any hard work or merit means she is lacking privilege right? Gimmie a break. The First child is only in Hollywood due to nepotism and privilege. The fact is, she has it easier then even Jennifer Lawrence does.

    • FingerBinger says:

      Apples and oranges. Malia Obama did internships. She wasn’t being paid. Her internships don’t have anything to do with black women being paid less.

    • Nebby says:

      It was an internship if you’ve never had one then you wouldn’t notice how many people are there because of their connections. Im never going to be upset with anyone opening a door for their children, everyone does it. 2nd point why do you assume that Malia doesn’t work hard?

    • Brittney B. says:

      So you can name literally ONE example of a girl of color who had a privilege that no white girl in Hollywood did, and you have to go all the way to the White House to find her?

      The frenetic effort to ignore and deny is head-spinning.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Yes, because it is impossible to get an internship unless your Dad is the President.

      Give me a break. There’s no doubt her last name made things easier for her but she’s also a very hardworking young woman who has the grades to back up any internship she applied for.

      • word says:

        What exactly is she studying and what are her career goals? Does she want to go into acting/producing/writing/directing? Just curious.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      Are people seriously arguing that Malia Obama and the Smith kids are benefitting from nepotism in Hollywood in a way whites never did or could?

      Ahem, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Liv Tyler, the Gyllenhaals, Scott Eastwood, Drew Barrymore, Dakota Johnson, Melanie Griffith, George Clooney, Bryce Dallas Howard. Shall I continue?

    • bns says:

      Just shut up.

  18. Tracey says:

    But black actresses ARE more legitimately aggrieved than white actresses. To act like Jennifer Lawrence is on the “same side” as actresses of colour just because she advocates for equal pay is ridiculous, given mainstream feminism’s history of ignoring or actively working against women of colour (and women with other intersections, like queer women or trans women). “Trickle down” feminism has never been a reality.

    • chelsea says:

      Neither has this fantasy of mainstream feminists holding back/working against minority women. I’m convinced it was created in a right-wing think-tank for divide-and-conquer purposes. I’ve NEVER seen it sourced.

      • loladoesthehula says:

        @Chelsea, rme. Your condescending comment is one of the ways white feminists work against woc. We’re allowed to be part of the movement as long as we sit quietly at the back of the bus and let our white mistresses do all the talking. As a black woman I’m told to stay silent about the misogynoir I suffer at the hands of black men for the sake of black solidarity: as a black feminist I’m told to stay to silent about the racism and heteronormativity in the feminist movement for the sake female solidarity. Solidarity is a pretty convenient silencing tactic.

  19. Hannah says:

    I don’t think he means to make it a competition. He’s just saying how hard it is for black women.
    Speaking of jlaw I kind of loved how she called out Kate winslet on the equality issue in the Hollywood reporters round table. It was done in a jokey way but it sort of exposed winslet.

  20. K says:

    He wasn’t bashing Jennifer Lawrence more the media and peoples reaction to it. The second she spoke out it was like omg that is terrible how can that happen not poor sweet Jen but really what about Lupita, Gabrielle, Octavia, etc. and yes he could have mentioned Asians but he is speaking to Essense so it makes sense.

    The point is that this has been going on for a long time, women have mentioned it a lot. Look what happened after Lupita won the question was well she is black could she have a career? I mean could she be in a rom com? And the media didn’t rip apart the industry but poor little Lawrence didn’t make as much as a man (and really it’s Amy Adams who got screwed in that) and the world is up in arms and applauding her. Where as its not the same for Minoritities.

    Just remember bitter washed up soap stars didn’t attach Jennifer or Patricia’s speech.

  21. Lrm says:

    Though calling Tina fey and Julia Louis Dreyfus “these chicks” does,leave something to be desired, it’s excellent that Chris is advocating for women. Some of his earlier stand up was a little cringy towards women,a problem with many male comedians, I’ve noticed.

    Also LOL @”oppression olympics”term that another commenter coined .

    • Shea says:

      If you’re chuckling at Mark’s comments, I pray for your soul. Mark is a notorious troll. Lol the oppression of different races is SO hilarious! You seem privileged.

  22. Marny says:

    He is a really thoughtful guy. I could read his opinions on stuff all day. Top Five was a great movie.

  23. Grace says:

    I find it very idiotic to dismiss Lawrence’s essay. If the biggest star in the world cannot get equal pay, what hope does a black actress have?Pay equality has to start at some point. If a white actress is first to get it, then so be it. Then, we can fight for WOC after that. If Lawrence hadn’t published that essay, the conversation would not have become as public as it has.
    His comments just hurt women as a whole. It pits two groups against each other and distracts us from the main issue.

  24. Nives says:

    Lawrence was talking about women being payed less than men because of their gender,
    women of all colors and backgrounds get payed less than their male counterparts. This affects women of every race, she didn’t single out white women or black women because this affect all of them.

    • loladoesthehula says:

      Correction: white women get paid less than white men, but get paid more than men of colour. Women of colour get paid less than both. The wage gap discourse will be intersectional or it will be bullshit!

  25. Mimi says:

    I don’t understand what JLaw has to do with anything here.Her argument wasn’t about herself, but about all women in Hollywood getting equal pay, including WOC.

    • Blanca says:

      I agree.The dragging of Lawrence is pretty silly. The story sadly would not have gotten nearly the same amount of attention if it was a lesser known actress or a woman of color wrote it

  26. yep says:

    Who negotiates for them? Thats where I would put the issue on.

  27. Gina says:

    Is he comparing Gabriel Union and J. Lawrence? hahaha, this is funny. There are plenty of underrated actresses all over the world, and he’s naming GABRIEL UNION. I cant even

    • me says:

      Reading these comments is the most I’ve ever heard Nia Long’s name being mentioned. Is she a household name? I’m not sure.

      • Gina says:

        yeah, I doubt she’s an outstanding actress. He should have mentioned someone like Regina King – very talented and yet underrated

      • me says:

        @ Gina

        Regina King ALLLL DAYYYY. She is very talented and has consistently worked since 227.

  28. word says:

    Haha Chris, sorry but people already don’t care what Jerry Seinfeld has to say. His comedy is outdated and just not funny. Don’t lump yourself with him. You’re much hipper, funnier, and with the times.

  29. me says:

    Are Black women really the least represented on-screen though? Least represented than any other women of color? Is that really accurate? From what I can tell, Black women are more represented than any other women of color. Is he really trying to say we see more Chinese, Indian, Arabic, Native women on screen than Black women? As a whole group though, WOC are definitely underrepresented. The logic would state, hey why not hire a woman of color, they get paid less, therefore we can pocket more. No, it’s let’s hire the “it White girl” for the moment and pay her a huge amount, but not as much as her White male counterpart of course”. The only ones winning in this are White males.

    • Colette says:

      Blacks comprise approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population,people of Chinese ancestry comprise approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population .So of course you are going to see more Blacks than Chinese actresses,the same applies to all the groups you mentioned.
      As someone else mentioned I’m curious why people aren’t bringing up Chinese,Indian,Black ,etc woman on Sofia post.

      • me says:

        Well Latins make up 17% of the population, White people make up 77%. Let’s say Black females make up roughly 7% of the population. Chris Rock is trying to say Black women are the least represented of ANY other ethnicity. I don’t really agree with that at all. I have no idea what’s going on in the Sofia post as I’m not a big fan of hers. I clicked on this story because I am a huge Chris Rock fan.

      • Colette says:

        So if Black women are not the least represented ethnicity on screen.Post the data that shows which group is? I can’t stand people who claim something is false yet fail to show the receipts.Earlier you named Chinese,Indian,etc now you are talking about Latinos.Post the facts to provide he is wrong instead of throwing out every ethnicity you can think of.

      • Zozo says:

        Here, this article show statistics about minority representation in Hollywood. Unfortunately just show the race issue, it doesn’t show the gender issue. Still, Imo this article can gives you a nice perspective about what “me” is trying to say.

  30. Mrs. Odie says:

    Chris Rock reminds me so much of someone I have a huge crush on in real life. Sigh.

    I recently read a great article (The New Yorker? New York Magazine?) about how Rock was instrumental in getting Leslie Jones on Saturday Night Live. She is the best thing to happen to that show in a LONG time. Chris took Lorne out to dinner and told him he HAD to see her. She couldn’t even get an audition. Good for Chris Rock, but sad that Leslie Jones needed him to do it.

  31. Dangles says:

    Can anyone tel me how many followers the #OscarsSoWhite Twitter account has? From what I’ve seen it seems surprising low given all the publicity. But I might be looking at the wrong thing.

  32. QQ says:

    *enters thread*

    JFC FAM!! Ya’ll make me need Jaggermeister in the morning with my cereal! this is disfuck!ngheartening

    *closes browser*

  33. Otaku Fairy says:

    I don’t think it was meant in a way to silence JLaw. It seems like he’s just adding black women to the discussion to point out that they get paid even less.