So, What does Tracee Ellis Ross Have To Do With The Wage Gap?
Back in January of 2018, African American actress, Tracee Ellis Ross was accused, in an article written by the Hollywood Reporter, of threatening to appear in fewer episodes of the hit television show Blackish on ABC as her beloved character Bow.
According to these leaked reports, Ross’s co-star Anthony Anderson, who also serves as the show’s executive producer, was receiving a significantly higher salary than Ross. This discovery fueled rumors of Ross’s imminent departure from the show if she was not brought up to that same level of pay.
Ross was quick to combat the media drama on Twitter and claimed that she never once threatened to pull out from the show. However, she was clear to let the world know that she, like all women, deserves equal pay for her work.
“There has been a lot of conversation and speculation the last few days regarding my blackish salary. I was in a renegotiation, like many actors find themselves in during the fourth season of a successful show,” she wrote. “I wanted to be compensated in a way that matches my contribution to a show that I love for many reasons, including the opportunity it allows me to reshape what it is to be a fully realized black woman on TV.”
Ross continued with a strong feminist statement to bring her point home. “I’m truly thankful that important conversations are taking place about fighting for women’s worth and equality, and tightening the pay gap in every industry.”
In my opinion, she couldn’t be any more correct if she tried. This is especially true in the case of working black women and their wages.
A recent article from Gothamist.com describes the way in which the gender wage-gap continues to harm women expansively outside of the field of acting. Such gaps can be absolutely devastating for black women and their families, consequently increasing the chances of poverty and homelessness. These wage gaps are especially detrimental when taking into consideration that eighty percent of black women are the breadwinners for their families. Their wages are essential and relied upon for the survival of a thriving household.
Recent news has exposed New York City of shorting women the wages that they deserve for their hard work. It is critical to make the point clear that while women make less on average than men in New York City, the gender wage gap is significantly larger for women of color. According to a recent report from comptroller Scott Stringer, over the course of a forty year career while living in the city, black women are losing out on an estimated $1.2 million dollars. That is absolutely insane to think about. It’s also incredibly unfair. We should all be paid equally for our efforts and contributions.
So, why is Tracee Ellis Ross’s statement on the wage gap important? It is important not only because it draws attention to an issue that is going on around this country, but around the world. Secondly, Ross has also used her platform to raise awareness for an issue that perhaps many of us do not even think about on a day to day basis because of the foundations of privilege.
It is critical that we continue to use our voices and lift each other up, while also following in Ross’s example of using any platforms that we may have available to us to try and create a wave of beneficial change.