Taraji P. Henson

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Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson 2011.jpg
Henson at the 2011 Heart Truth fashion show
Born Taraji Penda Henson
(1970-09-11) September 11, 1970 (age 44)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Education Oxon Hill High School
Alma mater Howard University
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1997–present
Children 1 (Marcell Johnson)

Taraji Penda Henson[1][2] (born September 11, 1970)[1][2] is an American actress and singer. She is known for her roles as Yvette in Baby Boy (2001), Shug in Hustle & Flow (2005) and Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2009. In 2011, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her role in Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story. From 2011 to 2013, she co-starred as Detective Jocelyn Carter in the CBS drama Person of Interest and as of 2015 stars as Cookie Lyon on the Fox musical drama series Empire .

Early life[edit]

Henson was born in southeast Washington, D.C., the daughter of Bernice Gordon, a corporate manager at Woodward & Lothrop, and Boris Lawrence Henson,[3] a janitor and metal fabricator.[4][5][6][7] Her first and middle name are of Swahili origin, "Taraji" meaning hope and "Penda" meaning love.[8][9]

Henson spent summers at her grandparents' house in suburban southern Maryland. She attended Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland. She first attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she started a major in Electrical Engineering.[10] She later transferred to Howard University.[11][7] She worked two jobs—in the morning as a secretary at the Pentagon and in the night as a waitress on The Odyssey Cruise Line to pay for Howard University.[12] She won the Triple Threat Award and graduated with a degree in Theater Arts.[13]

Career[edit]

Film[edit]

Henson at the 15th Screen Actors Guild Awards, Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, January 25, 2009

Henson's breakthrough role was in the 2001 comedy drama film Baby Boy which she portrayed Yvette, alongside co-lead singer Tyrese Gibson.[14]

In 2005, Henson starred in the independent film Hustle & Flow as Shug, the love interest of Terrance Howard, who portrayed the male lead DJay. The film received critical acclaim and was nominated for two Academy awards, winning one. In 2008, she starred opposite Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.[15] Henson plays the role of Queenie, Benjamin's mother, in a performance which has garnered critical acclaim and an Academy award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[16] She noted in an interview that, "Queenie is the embodiment of unconditional love."[8][15]

Henson has starred in Tyler Perry films The Family That Preys in 2008 and I Can Do Bad All By Myself in 2009. In 2010, she appeared in the remake of 1984 film of the same name The Karate Kid alongside Jaden Smith. The film was a commercial success receiving positive reviews and became a box office hit.[17]

In 2011, she starred as Tiffany Rubin in the Lifetime Movie Network film Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story. The film was based on true events of the life of a New York woman Tiffany Rubin, whose son Kobe was abducted by his biological father to South Korea. Determined to bring her son back home, she is helped by an organization for lost children which his headed by Mark Miller, portrayed by Terry O'Quinn, and with a plan they are able bring her son back home.[18] Henson's portrayal as Tiffany Rubin received positive reviews[19] which earned her several award nominations including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.[20]

In 2012, Henson starred in the large ensemble cast film Think Like A Man, which was based on Steve Harvey's 2009 book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Henson reprised her role in the film's sequel Think Like a Man Too, which was released in June 2014.[21]

Television[edit]

Henson has guest-starred on several television shows, such as the WB Television Network's Smart Guy, playing the role of Monique (1997–98); the Fox series House in 2005; and CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in 2006. She also starred on an episode of Sister, Sister.[1]

Henson has also been a cast member on several television shows, including Lifetime Television's The Division and ABC's Boston Legal for one season. Her recurring appearances in television include the character Angela Scott on ABC's Eli Stone in December 2008. In 2011, Henson was cast in the CBS crime-suspense series Person of Interest.[22][23] In the Person of Interest November 20, 2013 episode "The Crossing", after co-starring for two and a half years, Henson's character Carter was killed as part of the series' new storyline direction.[24]

In February 2014, several months after her last episode of Person of Interest aired on CBS, Henson was hired by Fox to star in the new TV series pilot Empire, a musical drama set in the hip hop recording industry.[25] Henson plays Cookie Lyon opposite former Hustle & Flow costar Terrence Howard. Fox ordered the pilot to series in May 2014 and the TV series debuted on January 7, 2015 with positive reviews from critics.[26][27]

Other work[edit]

Henson made her singing debut in Hustle & Flow; she provided the vocals for the Three 6 Mafia track "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp".[12] The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006, giving Three 6 Mafia the distinction of becoming the first African American hip-hop act to win in that category.[28] Henson performed the song at the live Oscar ceremony on March 5, 2006 with the group.[29] Additionally, she performed the song "In My Daughter's Eyes" on the 2006 charity album Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars.[30]

Henson has made several appearances in music videos. For example, she starred in the rapper Common's music video "Testify" in 2005 as the wife of a soon to be convicted murderer.[13] She also appeared in Tyrese Gibson's music video Stay as his love interest.[31]

On March 16, 2015 she was a guest co-host on Live! with Kelly and Michael filling in for regular co-host Kelly Ripa.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Henson became pregnant her junior year of college, she gave birth May 1994 to her son Marcell Johnson.[33] Her son's father was her high-school sweetheart.[34] According to a mitochondrial DNA analysis, her matrilineal lineage can be traced to the Masa people of Cameroun.[35]

Controversy[edit]

Henson claimed that her 20 year old son (Marcel Johnson) had been racially profiled by police and that his car had been illegally searched during a traffic stop on October 18, 2014 in Glendale, California. A video obtained by the Los Angeles Times showed that Johnson had driven through a lighted crosswalk while a pedestrian was crossing, that he had given verbal consent to search his vehicle, that he had admitted to smoking marijuana two hours before going behind the wheel, and that hash oil, marijuana, and a knife were found inside his car. Apologizing for overreacting and for making unsubstantiated claims, Henson said in an Instagram [36] message that, "A mother's job is not easy and neither is a police officer's. I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department." [37]

Activism[edit]

A supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Henson in January 2011 appeared nude in an ad for the I'd Rather Be Naked Than Wear Fur campaign.[38][39]

Henson joined PETA again for a 2013 campaign stating "Be an Angel for Animals". In the ad Henson poses with her family dog Uncle Willie while wearing a piece of sheer fabric. The ad highlights the issue that, "Chained dogs suffer day in and day out. They are cold, hungry, thirsty, vulnerable, and lonely. Keep them inside, where it's safe and warm."[40]

In February 2015, Henson posed in an ad for the NOH8 Campaign, which advocates same-sex marriage.[41]

Filmography[edit]

Films
Year Title Role Notes
2000 The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Left-Wing Student
2000 Satan's School for Girls Paige
2001 Baby Boy Yvette
2004 Hair Show Tiffany
2005 Hustle & Flow Shug
2005 Four Brothers Camille Mercer
2005 Animal Ramona
2006 Something New Nedra
2007 Smokin' Aces Sharice Watters
2007 Talk to Me Vernell Watson
2008 The Family That Preys Pam Evans
2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Queenie
2009 Not Easily Broken Clarice Clark-Johnson
2009 Hurricane Season Dayna Collins
2009 I Can Do Bad All By Myself April Jones
2010 Date Night Detective Arroyo
2010 The Karate Kid Sherry Parker
2010 Peep World Mary
2010 Once Fallen Pearl
2011 The Good Doctor Nurse Theresa
2011 Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story[42] Tiffany Rubin
2011 Larry Crowne B'Ella
2011 Laugh at My Pain Taraji
2011 From the Rough Catana Starks
2012 Think Like a Man Lauren Harris
2013 Madly Madagascar Okapi
2014 Think Like a Man Too[21] Lauren Harris
2014 No Good Deed Terri Granger
Television
Year(s) Title Role(s) Notes
1997/98 Smart Guy Monique / Leslie 3 episodes
1998 ER Elan Episode: "Split Second"
2001 Murder She Wrote: The Last Free Man Bess Pinckney Movie
2002–04 The Division Inspector Washington 14 episodes
2004 All of Us Kim Episode: "In Through the Out Door"
2005 House Moira Episode: "Spin"
2006 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Christina Episode: "I Like to Watch"
2007–08 Boston Legal Whitney Rome 17 episodes
2008 Eli Stone Angela Scott 3 episodes in season 2
2010 The Cleveland Show Chanel Williams Episode: "Brotherly Love"
2011–13 Person of Interest Jocelyn "Joss" Carter Main role (54 episodes)
2015–present Empire Cookie Lyon Main role
2015 Saturday Night Live Herself (host) 1 episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2001 Baby Boy Black Reel Award for Best Actress Nominated
2005 Hustle & Flow BET Award for Best Actress Won
2005 Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
2005 Black Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
2005 Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble Nominated
2005 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
2005 MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
2005 MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (Shared with Terrence Howard) Nominated
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2005 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2005 Four Brothers Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble Nominated
2007 Talk to Me NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
2007 Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Austin Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
2008 BET Award for Best Actress Won
2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Won
2008 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance Nominated
2008 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
2008 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2009 I Can Do Bad All By Myself Black Reel Award for Best Actress Nominated
2011 Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story BET Award for Best Actress Won
2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Won
2011 Black Reel Award for Best Actress: T.V. Movie/Cable Won
2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
2011 Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Taraji P. Henson - Biography". biography.com. Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved 2014-09-18. 
  2. ^ a b "Taraji P. Henson". TVGuide.com. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Boris Lawrence Henson RIP...I no u got heaven in stitches cause u had the best sense of humor even in your last moments you kept us laughin.". twitter. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  4. ^ Wiltz, Teresa (July 21, 2005), "Drama Queen: Taraji Henson Moved to Hollywood And Smacked It Right Upside the Head", Washington Post: C01 
  5. ^ Veteran Actors, First Time Nominees
  6. ^ NAACP nominates actress with local ties
  7. ^ a b Galloway, Stephen; Guider, Elizabeth (December 8, 2008). "Oscar Roundtable: The Actresses". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Interview with Tavis Smiley, 2008 Dec 19
  9. ^ Henson, Taraji P. (2013-12-05). The Late Show with David Letterman. Interview with David Letterman. Worldwide Pants. CBS. . Approximately 4 minutes before the end of the show, Henson said that first name is Taraji and "means hope in Swahili" and that her middle name is "Penda, P-E-N-D-A, and that means love in Swahili".
  10. ^ "Taraji Henson Biography". The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Wiltz, Drama Queen
  12. ^ a b Meet the Nominees: Taraji P. Henson: Vanity fair
  13. ^ a b Taraji Penda Henderson
  14. ^ "Taraji P. Henson Talks Cookie Taking Over Her Life, Kerry Washington, Baby Boy Sequel, Season 2 Of Empire + More". power1051fm.com. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Williams, Kam (2008-12-14). "Taraji P. Henson: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Interview". KamWilliams.com. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  16. ^ MacDonald, Gayle (January 23, 2009), "Benjamin Button Leads Race for What Pitt Calls -- Our Highest Honour", Globe & Mail (Toronto): R13 
  17. ^ "Taraji P. Henson Interview: The Karate Kid, Beijing Culture and Working for Will Smith". pr.com. June 9, 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story: TV review [Lifetime]". entertainmentrealm.com. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Taraji P. Henson". Emmys. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "Production starts on 'Think Like a Man Too'". upi.com. May 28, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Person of Interest: Cast & Details". Tvguide. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Taraji P. Hanson". Buddytv. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  24. ^ Snetiker, Marc (20 November 2013). "'Person of Interest' midseason shocker: Taraji P. Henson talks Carter's big [SPOILER!]". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  25. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (26 February 2014). "Taraji P. Henson Nabs Female Lead in Fox's Lee Daniels Hip-Hop Drama 'Empire'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  26. ^ Gomez, Luis (July 5, 2014). "Lee Daniels' 'Empire' picked up by Fox, will 'likely' film in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Empire: Season 1". 29 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  28. ^ Swash, Rosie (June 12, 2011). "Three Six Mafia win an Oscar". The guardian. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Three 6 Mafia Oscar Performance". youtube.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  30. ^ "Unexpected Dreams: Songs from the Stars". allmusic. 
  31. ^ "Tyrese "STAY" (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO) feat. Taraji P. Henson". Youtube. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Scoop: LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL - Week of March 16, 2015". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  33. ^ Boardman, Madeline (March 23, 2015). "Taraji P. Henson Sends Son Marcel to Howard University After Racial Profiling". Us Weekly. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Taraji Henson Talks 'Think Like A Man' and Motherhood". The Wendy Williams Show via BlackRaceKids.com. April 25, 2012. Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2012. ...her 17-year-old son... 
  35. ^ "Taraji P. Henson Ancestry Reveal". The Africa Channel via YouTube. January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Taraji P henson". Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Actress Taraji Henson apologizes to Glendale police for racial profile claims". LA Times. Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Taraji P Henson Goes Nude Again, This Time For PETA" January 27, 2011, Mrs Grapevine
  39. ^ Weiss, Shari (January 28, 2011). "Taraji P. Henson poses nude for PETA's 'I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur' ad campaign". Daily News (New York City). 
  40. ^ Dinh, Theresa (27 February 2013). "Taraji P. Henson Steals Her Pooch's Spotlight in Nude PETA Campaign (PHOTOS)". GlobalGrind.com. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  41. ^ Doggett, Jolie A. (February 4, 2015). "Photo Fab: Taraji P. Henson Supports NOH8 Campaign for LGBT Rights | Essence.com". Essence. Time Inc. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  42. ^ Morales, Wilson (Jan 4, 2011). "First Look at Taraji P. Henson's Lifetime Movie 'Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story". Black Voices. 

External links[edit]