Taraji P. Henson
|Taraji P. Henson|
Henson at the 2011 Heart Truth fashion show
|Born||Taraji Penda Henson
September 11, 1970
Washington, D.C., United States
|Education||Bachelor of Fine Arts|
|Alma mater||Howard University|
Taraji Penda Henson (// tə-RAH-jee; born September 11, 1970) is an American actress and singer. Henson studied acting at Howard University and began her Hollywood career in guest-roles on several television shows before making her breakthrough in Baby Boy (2001). In 2005, she starred in Hustle & Flow and played Queenie in David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2010, she appeared in the comedy Date Night and co-starred in the remake of The Karate Kid. In 2012, Henson was in the large ensemble cast film Think Like A Man and reprised her role in its sequel.
Henson has also had an extensive career in television, having been a regular cast member on series such as The Division, Boston Legal and Eli Stone. From 2011 to 2013, she co-starred as Detective Jocelyn Carter in the CBS drama Person of Interest. She starred in the leading role of Tiffany Rubin, in the Lifetime Movie Network film Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story, for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. As of 2015, she stars as Cookie Lyon on the FOX drama series Empire, for which she won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series - Drama in 2016, and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Early life and education
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 names are of Swahili origin, "Taraji" meaning hope and "Penda" meaning love. According to a mitochondrial DNA analysis, her matrilineal lineage can be traced to the Masa people of Cameroon. She says that North Pole explorer Matthew Henson is "the brother of my great-great grandfather."
Henson graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in 1988. She then attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where she studied electrical engineering before transferring to Howard University to study drama. To pay for college, she worked mornings as a secretary at The Pentagon and evenings as a singing-dancing waitress on a dinner-cruise ship, the Spirit of Washington. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1995.
In 2005, Henson was in the independent film Hustle & Flow as Shug, the love interest of Terrance Howard, who portrayed the male lead DJay. The film was nominated for two Academy awards, winning one. In 2008, she appeared opposite Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Henson plays the role of Queenie, Benjamin's mother, in a performance that led to an Academy award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She noted in an interview that, "Queenie is the embodiment of unconditional love."
Henson was 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.
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. Henson's portrayal as Tiffany Rubin received positive reviews which earned her several award nominations including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.
In 2012, Henson was 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.
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.
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. 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 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 and wide commercial success. Her work as Cookie Lyon gave her widespread recognition and critical acclaim. In July 2015, Henson was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and she submitted show's Pilot for Emmy voting. In January 2016, Henson won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for Empire becoming only the third African American actress to take home the award after Gail Fisher (1972) and Regina Taylor (1992).
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.
Henson has made several appearances in music videos and television. For example, she starred in the rapper Common's music video "Testify" in 2005 as the wife of a soon to be convicted murderer. She also appeared in Tyrese Gibson's music video Stay as his love interest.
Henson became pregnant during her junior year of college, and gave birth in 1994 to her son, Marcell Johnson. The father of her son, her high-school sweetheart William Lamar Johnson, was murdered in 2003.
In 2014, Henson said her son had been racially profiled by police and that his car had been illegally searched during a traffic stop that October 18 in Glendale, California. A video obtained by the Los Angeles Times showed Johnson had driven through a lighted crosswalk while a pedestrian was crossing, given verbal consent to search his vehicle, and admitted to smoking marijuana two hours before driving. Hashish oil and marijuana were found inside his car. Forty minutes after the video was made public, Henson said in an Instagram message, "I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department. A mother's job is not easy and neither is a police officer's."
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. 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."
|2000||The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle||Left-Wing Student|
|2000||Satan's School for Girls||Paige|
|2002||Book of Love: The Definitive Reason Why Men Are Dogs||Date #4/Ghetto Girl|
|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|
|1997–1998||Smart Guy||Mo'Nique||3 episodes|
|1999||Sister, Sister||Leslie||Episode: "Two's Company"|
|1998||ER||Elan||Episode: "Split Second"|
|2001||Murder She Wrote: The Last Free Man||Bess Pinckney||Movie|
|2002–2004||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"|
|2007–2008||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"|
|Person of Interest||Detective Jocelyn "Joss" Carter||55 episodes|
|2014||Season Of Love||Jackie||Lifetime movie|
|2015–present||Empire||Cookie Lyon||Main role|
|2015||Saturday Night Live||Herself/host||1 episode|
|2015||Live! with Kelly and Michael||Herself/co-host||1 episode|
Awards and nominations
- "Taraji P. Henson - Biography". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- "Taraji P. Henson". TVGuide.com. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- "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, p. 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, December 19, 2008.
- Henson, Taraji P. (December 5, 2013). 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 P. Henson Ancestry Reveal". The Africa Channel via YouTube. January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- Henson in Williams, Kam (2008). "Taraji Shares All, Even the Surprising Color of Her Panties". African American Literature Book Club. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
Yes, he's my great-great cousin. He was the brother of my great-great grandfather. Matthew would send him letters about his travels while out on his expeditions.
- Teran, Andi (February 12, 2009). "Meet the Nominees: Taraji P. Henson". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
- Hamilton, Kerry-Ann (October 2, 2009). "Alumna Taraji P. Henson Named as 2009 Homecoming Ambassador and Grand Marshal". News Room, Howard University.
- "Taraji P. Henson Talks Cookie Taking Over Her Life, Kerry Washington, Baby Boy Sequel, Season 2 Of Empire + More". power1051fm.com. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- Williams, Kam (December 14, 2008). "Taraji P. Henson: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Interview". KamWilliams.com. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- MacDonald, Gayle (January 23, 2009), "Benjamin Button Leads Race for What Pitt Calls -- Our Highest Honour", Globe & Mail (Toronto), p. R13.
- "Taraji P. Henson Interview: The Karate Kid, Beijing Culture and Working for Will Smith". pr.com. June 9, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- "Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story: TV review [Lifetime]". entertainmentrealm.com. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- "Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- "Taraji P. Henson". Emmys. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- "Production starts on 'Think Like a Man Too'". upi.com. May 28, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- "Person of Interest: Cast & Details". Tvguide. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- "Taraji P. Hanson". Buddytv. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
- Snetiker, Marc (November 20, 2013). "'Person of Interest' midseason shocker: Taraji P. Henson talks Carter's big [SPOILER!]". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- Goldberg, Lesley (February 26, 2014). "Taraji P. Henson Nabs Female Lead in Fox's Lee Daniels Hip-Hop Drama 'Empire'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 11, 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". January 29, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
- "Cookie Monster: How Cookie Lyon Became the Most Compelling Character on TV". root.com. February 15, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
- Alyssa Rosenberg (March 18, 2015). "‘Empire’s’ Cookie Lyon is TV’s best new female character". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
- Harris, Aisha (March 18, 2015). "Just Give Taraji P. Henson the Emmy Already". Slate.com. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- Callahan, Yesha (January 11, 2016). "Taraji P. Henson Becomes 3rd Black Woman to Win Golden Globe for Best Actress in TV Drama". The Root. Univision Communications. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
- 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 February 19, 2012.
- "Unexpected Dreams: Songs from the Stars". allmusic.
- "Common - Testify". youtube.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
- "Tyrese "Stay" (official music video) feat. Taraji P. Henson". Youtube. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- "Scoop: Live with Kelly and Michael Week of March 16, 2015". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- Boardman, Madeline (March 23, 2015). "Taraji P. Henson Sends Son Marcel to Howard University After Racial Profiling". Us Weekly. Retrieved March 23, 2015. Note: Source spells son's first name "Marcel".
- Brown, Laura (August 13, 2015). "Fortune Cookie: Taraji P. Henson". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
- Rocha, Veronica (March 27, 2015). "Actress Taraji Henson apologizes to Glendale police for racial profile claims". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 9, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
- "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...
- "Oscars 2009: Meet the Nominees You’ve Never Heard Of". Hollywood.
- "#TurningANegativeIntoAPositive #LoveTarajiPHenson". Taraji P. Henson Instagram page. March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
- "Actress Taraji P. Henson Apologizes For Claiming Glendale Police Racially Profiled Her Son", CBS Los Angeles, March 27, 2015.
- "Taraji P Henson Goes Nude Again, This Time For PETA" January 27, 2011, Mrs Grapevine
- 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).
- Dinh, Theresa (February 27, 2013). "Taraji P. Henson Steals Her Pooch's Spotlight in Nude PETA Campaign (PHOTOS)". GlobalGrind.com. Retrieved August 11, 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 (January 4, 2011). "First Look at Taraji P. Henson's Lifetime Movie 'Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story". Black Voices.
- Noonan, Kevin (February 6, 2015). "Taraji P. Henson Named NAACP’s Entertainer of the Year at Image Awards". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
- Variety Staff. "BET Awards Winners: Full List". Variety. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Li, Shirley (May 6, 2015). "The Critics' Choice TV Awards 2015: And the nominees are...". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Hipes, Patrick (May 31, 2015). "Critics' Choice TV Awards Winners: The Full List". deadline.com. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- "List: 2015 Primetime Emmy nominees". USA Today. July 16, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- "Game of Thrones set to dominate Emmys after netting 24 nominations". Guardian. July 16, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Longeretta, Emily (June 9, 2015). "Teen Choice Awards Pit One Direction Against Zayn Malik". Hollywood Life. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Coggan, Devan (June 9, 2015). "Teen Choice Award nominations pit Zayn Malik against One Direction". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Johnson, Zach (July 8, 2015). "Teen Choice Awards 2015 Nominees: Wave 2 Revealed!". E! Online. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 4, 2015). "2015 TCA Award Nominees Include 'Game of Thrones', 'Empire', 'The Americans' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Taraji P. Henson.|
- Taraji P. Henson at the Internet Movie Database
- Taraji P. Henson at TV Guide
- Taraji P. Henson on Facebook
- Taraji P. Henson on Twitter
- Taraji P. Henson on Instagram
- Taraji P. Henson at TV.com
|Saturday Night Live host
April 11, 2015