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When White Stars Use Their Privilege for Good

When White Stars Use Their Privilege for Good

Octavia Spencer was near tears describing how her friend, Jessica Chastain, worked to ensure pay parity for the two actresses.

Co-stars in The Help and longtime friends Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer are no strangers to pay disparity in Hollywood. Several actresses, in fact, have spoken out about how much more money their male counterparts make in comparison and others, like Mark Wahlberg, have been exposed for benefiting from the uneven pay structure. What many don't speak on is the continuation of that disparity between white women and people of color.

Chastain and Spencer, though, are changing the dialogue on the topic.

During an all-women panel at this week's Sundance Film Festival in Utah, Spencer shared a story about Chastain approaching her about working on a film together. Spencer explains the conversation quickly turned to pay equity in Hollywood.

"But here's the thing, women of color, on that spectrum, we make far less than white women," Spencer said in the video. "So, if we're going to have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table."

When Spencer explained to Chastain her experience as a black woman in Hollywood, she recalls that Chastain went quiet.

Spencer goes on to say that Chastain promised that she would make what she deserved on the film, telling her that they would be unified in their demands. Spencer is visibly emotional in the video when she reports that Chastain actually helped her receive five times what they asked.

"She's walking the walk and she's actually talking the talk," Spencer said.

Chastain isn't a new advocate in the fight for equal pay. According to Vanity Fair, Chastain was "one of the first stars to rally for Michelle Williams after it was revealed that Williams had made a fraction of Mark Wahlberg's salary for All the Money in the World."

"Major change is coming," Chastain said at the Palm Springs International Film Festival earlier this year, reported Page Six." And change is good. Change is needed...we must be better."

Watch Spencer speak about Chastain below at the 19:30 mark:

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