‘We should never pretend like this industry, or any other industry, has ever been about equality. It’s not.’
When carving out a career as a black man in Hollywood, Nick Cannon says he always knew he had to be the boss if he wanted to get paid fairly.
The 37-year-old rapper, comedian and actor who got his start on Nickelodeon made it his goal to also work behind the scenes on movies and TV shows, so he added director, screenwriter and producer to his resume over the years.
“We should never pretend like this industry, or any other industry, has ever been about equality. It’s not,” Cannon tells Moneyish. “I came up in the game where I wasn’t always the star in the movie, but I knew by the time I did become the star of the movie, I was going to get paid the most because not only was I going to star in the movie, I was going to write the movie, I was going to direct the movie and I was going to produce it.”
He’s doing exactly that for the upcoming film he’s executive producing, “She Ball,” an indie film about women’s street basketball, and with the reboot of his improv comedy TV show “Wild ‘n Out” on MTV 2.
But during his early acting career the “Drumline” star says he was used to getting compensated less than his white male colleagues (he wouldn’t say for which films), but still took on the roles because he wanted the experience.
“Sometimes you’ve got to be quiet and play the game, but when your time is up, you step up,” says Cannon. “Still to this day, I won’t do a film unless its something I’m part of on the back end and it’s something that I’m a producer on.”
Cannon, who says he fully supports the #TimesUp women’s movement, hopes the initiative will lead to a paradigm shift in equal pay for all females.
“I support it in such a major way,” he says. “I believe women are the most powerful creation on this planet and it’s time for these men to understand and recognize it and I think they’re scared of it and they’re trying to harness it,” he explains, at an event in New York City promoting Febreze and its new Super Bowl ad #BleepDon’tStink.
One woman who doesn’t have a problem standing up for herself is his ex wife, singer Mariah Carey.
“She’s a queen. She knows her worth,” he says.
The duo have been amicably co-parenting six-year-old twins — son Moroccan Scott and daughter Monroe — since they split in 2014.
“No matter what disagreements one may ever have, the common ground is that you want what’s best for your children. When you put them first, and you just remember that you love them unconditionally, everything else will be smooth,” says Cannon.
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