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  • Writer's pictureJamal Saafir

Terrence Howard Was Only Paid $12,000 For Movie Role In “Hustle & Flow”

Updated: Dec 1, 2023


According to a report from WREG, world-renowned actor Terrence Howard of “Iron Man”, “The Best Man” and “Empire” fame, recently shared in an interview with WREG’s Alex Colemon on Live at 9, that he was only paid $12,000 for his role in the hit film “Hustle & Flow.


Howard attended the interview with the intention of promoting his latest movie, “Showdown at the Grand”, but also touched on a few other topics regarding his experience in the film industry, some of the business practices associated, and his relationship with the city of Memphis, TN.


In 2004, Howard went to Memphis to take on the role of “Djay” in “Hustle & Flow”, directed by Memphis-based Craig Brewer. It was a box-office smash, yielding $22.2 million in the United States and Canada, according to IMDb.




Shockingly, Howard revealed that he was not compensated for the role in the manner many would assume as a result of the movie’s success.



“I made $12,000 for doing Hustle & Flow,” Howard said. “What Paramount did, instead of putting my name as ‘Terrence Howard’ performing the songs, they put ‘performed by Djay.’ Well, they owned Djay.”




He went on further to state that the performance royalties went to the media company instead of him. “So now, I’ve got to send them a letter to say, ‘Hey, you guys owe me about 20 years worth of residuals and performance royalties.'”


According to Howard, his focus at the time of taking the role was solely to pay his rent.


Howard also added that FOX used his image from “Hustle & Flow” as the logo for the hit show Empire and monetized it. He expressed his disdain with SAG (The Screen Actors Guild) and his desire to do away with unions in the film industry for not supporting him in his time of need when unions are anticipated to step in and take up for the people who they represent.


“SAG didn’t do anything to help me. They waited nine months until the statute of limitations [expired]”, stated Howard. “They're not here to help the artists, they’re here to make their money.”


“Hustle & Flow” is the story of a Memphis hustler struggling to break into the music scene as a rap artist. Howard received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film and Memphis rap artists Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar for their soundtrack song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”.

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