The ‘Suicide Squad’ star has been watching with interest as the industry’s gender pay gap has been tackled by some of the industry’s leading ladies such as, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and Ruth Wilson, and now she insists is the time for the disparity in earnings between actors of different ethnicity to be addressed.
Speaking to Variety, she said: “There are no percentages to show the difference. It’s vast. Hispanic women, Asian women, black women, we don’t get paid what Caucasian women get paid. We just don’t … We have the talent. It’s the opportunity that we’re lacking.”
Viola, 53, is adamant that the only way the problem can be resolved is if the people in positions of power at the top of the movie and TV industries become more diverse.
She added: “We’re not even invited to the table. I go to a lot of women’s events here in Hollywood, and they’re filled with female CEOs, producers and executives, but I’m one of maybe five or six people of colour in the room.
The ‘Fences’ star is also on a mission to change how women of colour are portrayed on screen, particularly black actresses who are consistently required to change their natural appearance, especially their hair.
And Viola was thrilled when director Steve McQueen asked her to embrace her natural Afro hair in their new movie ‘Widows’.
She said: “You’re always taught as a person of colour to not like your hair. The kinkier it is, the so-called nappier it is, the uglier it is. We’re into a zeitgeist where people are fighting for their space to be seen. People have to know that there are different types of women of colour. We’re not all Foxy Brown. We’re not all brown or light-skinned beauties with a big Afro. We have the girl next door. We have the older, dark-skinned, natural-haired woman.”