Taraji P. Henson
|Taraji P. Henson|
Henson at the 2011 Heart Truth fashion show
|Born||Taraji Penda Henson 
September 11, 1970
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||Oxon Hill High School|
|Alma mater||Howard University|
Taraji Penda Henson (born September 11, 1970) is an American actress. 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. From 2011 to 2013, she co-starred as Detective Jocelyn Carter in the CBS drama Person of Interest and currently stars as Cookie Lyon on the Fox musical drama series Empire (2015–present) .
Henson was born in southeast Washington, D.C., the daughter of Bernice Gordon, a corporate manager at Woodward & Lothrop, and Boris Lawrence Henson, a janitor and metal fabricator. Her first and middle name are of Swahili origin, "Taraji" meaning hope and "Penda" meaning love.
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. She later transferred to Howard University. 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. She won the Triple Threat Award and graduated with a degree in Theater Arts.
Henson has appeared in the films Four Brothers (2005), Talk To Me (2007), Smokin' Aces (2007), The Family That Preys (2008), and Hurricane Season (2009). In late 2008, she starred opposite Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Henson plays the role of Queenie, Benjamin's mother, in a performance which has garnered critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She noted in an interview that, "Queenie is the embodiment of unconditional love."
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. She 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. In 2011, Henson was cast in the CBS crime-suspense series Person of Interest.
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". 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. Henson performed the song at the live Oscar ceremony on March 5, 2006 with the group. Additionally, she performed the song "In My Daughter's Eyes" on the 2006 charity album Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars.
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.
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.
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. Henson plays Cookie Lyon opposite co-lead 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.
Henson's son Marcel was born in May 1994. Her son's father was her high school sweetheart. According to a mitochondrial DNA analysis, her matrilineal lineage can be traced to the Masa people of Cameroun.
Henson joined People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in its campaign against the use of animal products in clothing, stating, "I don't think a living being should suffer for the sake of fashion, period. End of story... You don't have to kill an animal just because you want to be hot and fly. And I really stand by that". In January 2011, she appeared nude in an ad for the I'd Rather Be Naked Than Wear Fur campaign.
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."
|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"|
|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|
|2000||The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle||Left-Wing Student|
|2000||Satan's School for Girls||Paige|
|2005||Hustle & Flow||Shug|
|2005||Four Brothers||Camille Mercer|
|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|
|2011||The Good Doctor||Nurse Theresa|
|2011||Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story||Tiffany Rubin|
|2011||Laugh at My Pain||Taraji|
|2011||From the Rough||Catana Starks|
|2012||Think Like a Man||Lauren Harris|
|2014||Think Like a Man Too||Lauren Harris|
|2014||No Good Deed||Terri Granger|
Awards and nominations
- "Taraji P. Henson - Biography". biography.com. Biography. Retrieved 2014-09-18.
- "Taraji P. Henson Biography". tvguide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 2014-09-18.
- "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.
- Wiltz, Teresa (July 21, 2005), "Drama Queen: Taraji Henson Moved to Hollywood And Smacked It Right Upside the Head", Washington Post: C01
- Veteran Actors, First Time Nominees
- NAACP nominates actress with local ties
- Galloway, Stephen; Guider, Elizabeth (December 8, 2008). "Oscar Roundtable: The Actresses". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- Interview with Tavis Smiley, 2008 Dec 19
- 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".
- "Taraji Henson Biography". The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- Wiltz, Drama Queen
- Meet the Nominees: Taraji P. Henson: Vanity fair
- Taraji Penda Henderson
- Williams, Kam (2008-12-14). "Taraji P. Henson: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Interview". KamWilliams.com. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- MacDonald, Gayle (January 23, 2009), "Benjamin Button Leads Race for What Pitt Calls -- Our Highest Honour", Globe & Mail (Toronto): R13
- Taraji P. Henson Profile at IMDb
- "Person of Interest: Cast & Details". Tvguide. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- "Taraji P. Hanson". Buddytv. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
- Swash, Rosie (June 12, 2011). "Three Six Mafia win an Oscar". The guardian. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- "Three 6 Mafia Oscar Performance". youtube.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Unexpected Dreams: Songs from the Stars". allmusic.
- "Production starts on 'Think Like a Man Too'". upi.com. May 28, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- Snetiker, Marc (20 November 2013). "'Person of Interest' midseason shocker: Taraji P. Henson talks Carter's big [SPOILER!]". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- 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.
- Gomez, Luis (July 5, 2014). "Lee Daniels' 'Empire' picked up by Fox, will 'likely' film in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
- "Empire: Season 1". 29 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "Taraji Henson talks "Think Like A Man" and motherhood". April 25, 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "Taraji P. Henson Ancestry Reveal". YouTube. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- "Taraji P. Henson gets naked in the name of PETA". Style Magazine. youtube.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Taraji P Henson Goes Nude Again, This Time For PETA" January 27, 2011, Mrs Grapevine
- Weiss, Shari (January 28, 2011). "Share on emailShare on printShare on redditMore Sharing ServicesTaraji P. Henson poses nude for PETA's 'I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur' ad campaign". Daily News.
- Dinh, Theresa (27 February 2013). "Taraji P. Henson Steals Her Pooch's Spotlight in Nude PETA Campaign (PHOTOS)". GlobalGrind.com. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- 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.
- Morales, Wilson (Jan 4, 2011). "First Look at Taraji P. Henson's Lifetime Movie 'Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story". Black Voices.
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