Tuesday, Howard joined WREG’s Alex Coleman on Live at 9 to discuss his newest movie, Showdown at the Grand, his journey in acting, and the relationship he has with Memphis.
In 2004, Howard came to the city to play “Djay” in Hustle & Flow, directed by Memphis-based Craig Brewer. It was a box-office hit, earning $22 million in the United States and Canada, according to IMDb.
However, the actor revealed that he did not receive as big of a cut as most people may assume.
“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.”
The 54-year-old continued by stating 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.'”
Howard said, at the time, he was just trying to pay his rent.
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He also added that FOX used his image from Hustle & Flow as the logo for the hit show Empire and monetized it. “SAG [Screen Actors Guild] didn’t do anything to help me. They waited nine months until the statute of limitations went out.”
Hustle & Flow tells the story of a Memphis hustler struggling to become a rapper. Howard was nominated for an Oscar for his performance and Memphis rappers Three 6 Mafia won the Oscar for their soundtrack.