Angela Bassett Works to ‘Change the Conversation’ and Be ‘Paid Fairly’ in Hollywood

Angela Bassett at the 74th Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles USA 8th January 2017 — Photo by Featureflash/Deposit Photos

For years, Angela Bassett has played strong Black women in roles that “change the conversation” in entertainment, in turn helping her to become one of the highest-earning actresses in television.

In an interview with InStyle magazine published Wednesday, the How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Black Panther actress discussed her recent pay raise on the Fox series 9-1-1 in which she plays field sergeant Athena Grant.

“Now, it’s good to be paid. That is one thing that I’ve said to myself since early on in my career. I mean, I literally would say, ‘I want to work in roles that can change me and change the conversation. I want to work consistently. And I want to be paid fairly,’” the actress explained.

Related Story: Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance to Explore Implications of Slavery in New Docuseries

As Deadline reported in August, Bassett is said to be the highest paid actress of color on a broadcast drama series — after getting a pay increase to approximately $450,000 per episode starting with the show’s fifth season. That salary is also thought to be among the highest for any performer on network television. 

Bassett told InStyle, she’s motivated by “following my dreams” not just by money.

“It’s about knowing your worth and standing on it. Being in positions and places where your worth is appreciated is a good thing. I’m glad that it can influence others,” she said. 

Bassett’s work on 9-1-1 goes beyond acting. She is also an executive producer on the series as well as its spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star.

Deadline also reported that 9-1-1 creator Ryan Murphy specifically launched the show for Bassett and she was involved in the development.

The Oscar-nominated actress told InStyle she wants to same opportunities for other Black actresses and champions her “sister” Regina King, as well as Halle Berry.

“Whatever a woman’s doing, I’m supporting and applauding her. Because we don’t feel 100 percent every day. We need to be able to look out and find inspiration,” Bassett said.

She also strives to make an impact behind-the-scenes with her production company alongside her husband Courtney B. Vance.

They will be producing the upcoming docuseries One Thousand Years of Slavery for the Smithsonian Channel.