Taraji P Henson

Actor, Writer, Producer & Director

Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner, and star of the award-winning film Hidden Figures, Taraji P. Henson delights audiences with her tales about family, friends, the hustle required to make it in Hollywood, and the joy of living your own truth.

With a sensibility that recalls her beloved screen characters, including Katherine, the NASA mathematician, Yvette, Queenie, Shug, and the iconic Cookie from Empire, Henson discusses her family—the one she was born into and the one she created. She shares stories of her father, a Vietnam vet who was bowed but never broken by life’s challenges, and of her mother, who survived violence both at home and on DC’s volatile streets. Here, too, she opens up about her experiences as a single mother, a journey some saw as a burden, but which she saw as a gift.

Henson also reflects on the world-class instruction she received at Howard University and how she chipped away, with one small role after another, at Hollywood's resistance to give women, particularly women of color, meaty significant roles. With laugh-out-loud humor and candor, she shares the challenges and disappointments of the actor’s journey and shows us that behind the red carpet moments, she is ever authentic. With lessons learned from throughout her career, Henson offers valuable insight into what it means to work hard to define and achieve success. Engaging and passionate, she inspires audiences with personal stories and firsthand insight into leveraging individual strengths to pursue one's dreams.

BIO

Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, writer 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 a BET award for Best Actress.

Henson currently stars as Cookie Lyon in Fox’s hit musical drama Empire, which has earned her three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe Award, a Critic’s Choice Award, and three BET Awards. Prior to Empire, Henson had recurring roles on Person of Interest, Boston Legal, and The Division.

In 2017, Henson portrayed NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson in the Academy Award-nominated film Hidden Figures. Henson and her cast received a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” for the film. Other credits include 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 starring opposite Idris Elba (which opened #1 at 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.”

In March 2018, Henson can be seen starring in Tyler Perry’s Acrimony for Lionsgate. Other upcoming projects include Paramount’s What Men Want, from director Adam Shankman and writer Nancy Meyers, and Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, to which she lends her voice.

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.

A Washington, D.C. native, Henson currently resides in Chicago.

Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, writer 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 a BET award for Best Actress.

Henson currently stars as Cookie Lyon in Fox’s hit musical drama Empire, which has earned her three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe Award, a Critic’s Choice Award, and three BET Awards. Prior to Empire, Henson had recurring roles on Person of Interest, Boston Legal, and The Division.

In 2017, Henson portrayed NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson in the Academy Award-nominated film Hidden Figures. Henson and her cast received a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” for the film. Other credits include 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 starring opposite Idris Elba (which opened #1 at 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.”

In March 2018, Henson can be seen starring in Tyler Perry’s Acrimony for Lionsgate. Other upcoming projects include Paramount’s What Men Want, from director Adam Shankman and writer Nancy Meyers, and Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, to which she lends her voice.

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.

A Washington, D.C. native, Henson currently resides in Chicago.

SPEECH TOPICS

A Conversation with Taraji P. Henson

Books & Media