Taraji P. Henson Kills It

The Empire Star Is On Top of Her Game

BY: Claire Connors

We’ve been in love with Taraji P. Henson ever since her role as Shug in the Academy Award-winning film, Hustle & Flow. In that 2005 movie about a Memphis Pimp (Terrence Howard) trying to make it as a rapper, it was Taraji’s sweet devotion to the troubled hero that gave the movie its heart and helped the audience sympathize with a traditionally unlikeable character. She also sang the Oscar-winning tune, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.”

Her sexy, sloe-eyed beauty is only one of the many reasons she’s so in demand in Hollywood. Taraji brings a quiet intensity to a part like Queenie in 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (her role as Benjamin’s adoptive mother got her an Oscar nod); a relentless determination and intelligence to Katherine G. Johnson, the black mathematical genius working for NASA in 2016’s Hidden Figures; and an outrageous, over-the-top energy (not to mention the costumes!) as Cookie Lyon in the TV series, Empire.

But what we really love about Taraji is her never-ending support of other women of color in the industry. Watch any award show that she’s attending. Whether she’s up for a prize herself or simply there as a fan, when one of her friends wins, she’s the first one on her feet hollering with joy! Her blinding smile and cheerleading skills are enough to kill us with happiness.

Speaking of killing it, in 2018, Taraji will be playing two women you certainly don’t want to mess around with. In Tyler Perry’s next comedy thriller, Acrimony, Taraji plays a wife out for revenge when her no-good husband betrays her one-too-many times. And in Proud Mary, she’s a blonde-wig-wearing hit woman whose cold heart gets woke by a young boy she has to protect. But we can’t wait for her next project: Taraji’s name is attached to a female version of the Mel Gibson movie, What Women Want. In What Men Want, she’ll be playing a sports agent iced out of the boy’s club. When she can suddenly hear men’s thoughts, she gets the upper hand over her male associates, both professionally and personally. Score!

Proud Mary is in theaters January 12th and Acrimony will be out March 13th. What Men Want will arrive in 2019.