Malcolm & Marie star Zendaya made sure the film crew had an equity stake in the making of the film.
According to Essence, the film’s production during the COVID-19 shutdown led Zendaya to create “a financial structure…where people got points on the movie and got paid.” In short, the crew all have their own bit of financial ownership of the film.
“We own our movie,” she said. “…I’ve never been in a situation or in a spot where I can say that not only did I invest into my movie, but I also own part of my own movie. So when it does well, I do well and I’m taken care of on that side as well so my contributions are valid.”
As a co-executive producer on the movie as well as the film’s actress, Zendaya also talked about how rare it is for Black women in entertainment to get that type of credit for their work, saying, “As a young woman, as a young Black woman in this industry, when does that opportunity arise? When, where would I get that credit or get that financial backing for my work, and my contribution to my art and to my work[?]”
Zendaya continued, saying that she feels it’s unhealthy that crew members don’t get to be actively invested in the film’s they’re making. “They’re the ones who are laying the tracks and doing all the heavy lifting…I think that [providing the crew ownership of the film] was such a beautiful thing specifically in this time where people couldn’t work. Tpme, it’s really about the acknowledgment, and sometimes compensation.”
Malcolm & Marie is currently streaming on Netflix.