Join us for a Career Retrospective with actor Taraji P. Henson. Moderated by Jenelle Riley, Variety.
Photo credit: Erika Bracey.
Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, writer, director and producer Taraji P. Henson quickly rose to fame after her breakout performance in the critically acclaimed film HUSTLE & FLOW, which earned her and the cast a Screen Actors Guild nomination as well as the BET Award for Best Actress.
In 2020, Henson wrapped her iconic run as “Cookie Lyon” in Fox’s hit musical drama EMPIRE, which has earned her three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe Award, a Critics Choice Award, and three BET Awards.
Henson can next be heard on the big screen lending her voice to Paramount Pictures PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, which is scheduled to be released this fall on September 29.
Henson is starring in the upcoming Blitz Bazawule adaption of THE COLOR PURPLE as Shug Avery. She will star opposite Fantasia and Danielle Brooks, with Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones producing. The forthcoming Warner Bros. film is an adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical, which is itself an adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. THE COLOR PURPLE is set to be released on December 20, 2023.
She can most recently be heard lending her voice to MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU as Belle Bottom, which was released in July 2022. Henson also starred as Miss. Hannigan in NBC’s Annie Live! in December of 2021, for which she won an NAACP award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special.
In October 2016, Henson released her New York Times bestselling novel “Around The Way Girl,” a memoir about her family and friends, her determination to make it to Hollywood, and the importance of living your own truth. In “Around The Way Girl,” she reminisces on the world-class theater arts education she received at Howard University, and how she chipped away at Hollywood’s resistance to give women, especially women of color, rich and significant roles. With her iconic humor and honesty, Henson shares the struggles and disappointments of an actor’s journey and shows audiences that she is ever authentic.
In 2017, Henson portrayed NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson in the Academy Award-nominated film HIDDEN FIGURES. Henson and the cast received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for the film. Other credits include Tyler Perry’s ACRIMONY, PROUD MARY, THINK LIKE A MAN with Kevin Hart, THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, TALK TO ME opposite Don Cheadle, SMOKIN’ ACES with Ben Affleck and Alicia Keys, Tyler Perry’s THE FAMILY THAT PREYS, HURRICANE SEASON opposite Forest Whitaker, NO GOOD DEED opposite Idris Elba which opened #1 in the box office, LARRY CROWNE with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, TAKEN FROM ME, and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON with Brad Pitt, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Henson lent her voice alongside Sarah Silverman, John C. Reilly, and Gal Gadot in Disney’s RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK IT RALPH 2 which was #1 at the box office three weekends in a row. In 2019, Henson starred in Paramount’s WHAT MEN WANT from director Adam Shankman, and THE BEST OF ENEMIES opposite Sam Rockwell. Following the finale of EMPIRE in 2020, she was seen starring in the Netflix film COFFEE & KAREEM with Ed Helms. In 2019, Henson received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In Fall 2020, Henson launched her production company, TPH Entertainment, with the foundation of finding projects that challenge audiences to think differently and offer new perspectives. Most recently it was announced that Henson will star in and produce Alessandro Camon’s TIME ALONE under her production banner.
In Fall 2018, Henson launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in honor of her late father. The organization provides scholarships to African-American students majoring in mental health, offers mental health services to youth in urban schools, and works to lower the recidivism rates of African-American men and women. Henson, along with her best friend and foundation partner, Tracie Jade, co-hosted two seasons of the Facebook Watch series on mental health called PEACE OF MIND WITH TARAJI, for which they received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for “Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host.”
In early 2020, Henson launched her own haircare line, TPH by Taraji, which has won numerous awards from industry titans including Allure, Essence, InStyle, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, SELF, and more.
A Washington, D.C. native, Henson currently resides in Los Angeles.