Taraji P Henson is an Award Winning American actress, singer, and film producer. She was born on the 11th of September, 1970. She is famous for her stellar performances in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Think Like A Man, Empire, I Can Do Bad All By Myself and Acrimony.
Early Life and Education
She was born in SouthEast, Washington D.C to Bernice and Boris Lawrence Henson. Her father was a metal fabricator and janitor and her mother was a corporate manager. Her names, Taraji and Penda are off Swahili descent and they mean “Hope” and “Love” respectively.
She attended high school in Maryland, precisely Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Taraji studied Acting in Howard University on a scholarship from Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen.
However, before this, she was studying Electrical Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. To make ends meet during college, she worked at The Pentagon as a secretary and as a singing-dancing waitress on an Evening Cruise Ship.
Taraji’s first major role was in the 2001 comedy-drama film, Baby Boy. She played the character, Yvette, alongside Tyrese Gibson. In 2005, she starred in Hustle&Flow, an independent film as Terrence Howard’s love interest.
In 2008, she starred in the Academy Award Winning The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, alongside Brad Pitt where she played the character Queenie, Benjamin’s adoptive mother.
In 2008 also she starred in Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys and I Can Do Bad All By Myselfand in the box office success, Karate Kid. She went on to feature as Tiffany Rubin in the biopic, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story which was a Lifetime Movie Network.
In 2012, she acted in the romantic comedy, Think Like A Man which brought her into mainstream fame. She starred alongside female iconic stars like Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, Meagan Good, Jennifer Lewis and, La La Anthony.
In 2015, she started in Hidden Figures as one of the black female NASA mathematicians that were integral to the equations used in building the rockets for the moon landing.
In 2015, she later went on to act as Cookie Lyon, the estranged wife of Lucious Lyon, a music mogul played by the previous co-star, Terrence Howard in the widely acclaimed Lee Daniels series, Empire. In 2018, she featured in the Tyler Perry’s romantic thriller, Acrimony.
In 1994, she had her son Marcel Johnson whose father was her high school sweetheart. His name was William Lamar Johnson and he was murdered in 2003. Her son had a run in with the police in 2014 after he had violated some traffic regulations and admitted to smoking marijuana two hours before driving.
However, Taraji blew it out of proportion claiming that the police had profiled her son. After footage of his interaction with the police was released, she officially apologized to the Glendale Police Department.
She is an avid supporter of PETA and does not believe in Animal Cruelty. In 2011, she appeared nude in the I’d Rather Be Naked Than Wear Fur ad campaign against animal violence. In 2013, she partnered with PETA in the Be An Angel For The Animals campaign where she poses with her family’s dog, Uncle Willie.
On May 3rd, 2018, she got engaged to Kelvin Hayden.
Awards and Other Achievements
In 2010, she won Best Actress in the BET Awards for her performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
In 2015, Taraji P Henson won the Critics Choice Television Awards for the Best Actress In A Drama Series for Empire. She was the first black actress in the history of the world to do so.
In 2016, she was nominated for Best Actress in a television series for her performance in Empire. However, she won A Golden Globe Award for her performance in Empire in the Best Actress category.
In 2017, she won NAACP Outstanding Actress Award for her performance in Hidden Figures.