paula jai parker,

*One of the first scenes of “Hollywood Divas” was about Paula Jai Parker‘s very personal life experiences. She’s experienced homelessness and unemployment.

“In this season of our lives, this is what we were going through,” Parker told Essence. “I am not the only person going through homelessness… I am not the only person in America right now on unemployment.”

“As I stood in those food stamp lines and humbled myself and did what I had to do for my son…I did it because I want other people to know that they are not alone,” she added. “I genuinely believe that God wanted me to talk about it.”

She wanted the world to know about her financial and living troubles. But her family, friends and fans were shocked to hear about her family’s homelessness.

“It was still an embarrassing situation for my whole family, not just my husband but my nieces, cousins, in-laws. The majority of our family found out on national television like the rest of the world,” she said.

Nevertheless, she has been criticized for not finding employment outside of acting to support her son. But she always had faith everything would work out.

“I’ve always believed that God will not leave his children in the streets begging, and I always held on. Believe it or not, there was always enough. Just when it all ran out, there was always enough. Maybe not enough to keep me in my home, maybe not enough to keep my cars and things, but there was always enough,” she said.

The “Hustle & Flow” actress confirmed it’s hard out here for black actresses. As one of them, her pay and residual checks have been low amounts.

“Actors, especially Black actresses, we don’t make that much money. The majority of the films that I’ve been in—even though they’ve been successful—they were independent films,” she explained. “Residual checks aren’t what they used to be. You can ask any actor. I’ve gotten a residual check back for $0.00, and they genuinely sent the check to me in the mail.”

Read more of Parker’s interview at Essence.