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Taraji P. Henson Rips Hollywood In New Tell-All— Who 'Smacked' Her & Who 'Screwed' Her Over?

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Oct. 13 2016, Updated 8:02 p.m. ET

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Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson triumphed over Hollywood rejection after years of refusing to fit the mold— and now she's ready to tell the tale. The Empire actress takes down A-listers and even the Oscars in her new book, Around the Way Girl.

Taraji P Henson Visits “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

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When Henson, now 45, auditioned for 2012 film Think Like a Man, she wanted to play Lauren, a career-focused woman. But according to the actress, the producer insisted the character be played by a white woman. "Why, in an all-black movie, would you make the most successful character a white woman?" she claims she said. Henson eventually snagged the part.

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Premiere Of Paramount’s “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” – After Party

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When the star landed her Oscar-nominated role in 2008 drama The Curious Case of Benjamin Button opposite Brad Pitt, she was only offered "sofa change" for the part to Pitt's "millions." In addition to her "lowest of six figures" salary, Henson was told to pay for her own housing while filming in New Orleans. "Insult, meet injury," she writes.

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Babel Los Angeles Premiere – Red Carpet

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Why was she paid "less than 2%" of Pitt and costar Cate Blanchett's salaries? "There are way more talented black actresses than there are intelligent, meaningful roles for them," she explains. "We're consistently charged with diving for the crumbs of the scraps, lest we survive."

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2016 Summer TCA Tour – Day 13

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She says she was "miserable" filming in the "muddy and broken" post-Hurricane Katrina city due to her father's death and the "thorough Hollywood screwing" in her paycheck ordeal.

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“The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” Los Angeles Premiere – Red Carpet

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After Penelope Cruz beat her for the best supporting actress Academy Award, Pitt and his then-wife, Angelina Jolie, comforted her. "Let's go get a shot," she claims Jolie said.

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The 81st Academy Awards – Arrivals – Kevin Mazur

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The day after her Oscar loss, Henson "smirked" at the "hoopla" and "farce of it all."

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“Empire” FYC ATAS Event

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She credits I Can Do Bad All by Myself director Tyler Perry, not Benjamin Button or the Oscars, with taking her career — and paycheck — to the next level. "It was he who gave me a fair wage to star in his movie," she writes. "It was because of him — not an Oscar nomination— that I never had to take another movie project at the rock bottom of six figures."

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ESSENCE Black Women In Music Event

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Henson was disappointed upon meeting her idol, Mary J. Blige, at a Grammy's party in 2000. After gushing over her, the singer "turned her back" with a "dismissive wave," she claims. Later, she attempted to speak with Blige on the dance floor by tapping her on the shoulder. "Before I could withdraw my hand, her sister, LaTonya, smacked the crap out of my arm," Henson marvels.

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Spike TV’s Guys Choice 2015 – Backstage And Audience

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Years later, the two became friends when Blige gushed like a fan girl over her. "I must have said, 'Thank you, God' at least a dozen times," Henson recalls.

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