The night’s biggest winner at the recent Critics’ Choice TV Awards was undoubtedly Taraji P. Henson who walked away with the award for Best Actress in a Drama. Those of us who watch “Empire” will agree that she plays the critically acclaimed role of the tough, smart mouthed Cookie Lyon with aplomb.
I have always been a fan of Taraji and am ecstatic that even though it has taken her 18 years, she is finally getting the recognition and respect that she deserves in a world where black talent are limited to minor roles, booting shaking in music videos and posing half naked on the covers of trashy magazines.
I’m certain that this win, which by the way makes her the first black actress EVER to win the Critics’ Choice TV Awards for best actress in a drama, will shine the light on and pave the way for other black actors and actresses to win awards of this nature.
Take a peep at her acceptance speech below, delivered with the sass we know Cookie for and a few interesting things you may not have known about Taraji P Henson.
1. She’s an Animal Lover:
Taraji has a soft spot for animals having bared all and shown of her banging body for one PETA’s “I’d Rather Go Naked…” campaigns.
2. She Has Swahili Names:
Born to a corporate manager mom and a metal fabricator father, she was given the Swahili names “Taraji” and “Penda” which mean “hope” and “love” respectively.
3. She Nails Improvisation:
Her Empire character Cookie Lyon is known for her slick mouth and infamous one-liners such as “Shut up, Dora”, “Booboo Kitty” or “If you want Cookie’s nookie, then ditch the bitch”. Did you know that most of these lines are improvised by Taraji?
4. This Beauty Has Brains
Would you believe me if I told you Taraji was originally an Electrical Engineering student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University? After failing pre-calculus (a preparatory calculus course) she transferred to Howard University where she obtained a degree in Theater Arts along with fellow actors Laz Alonso, Michael Ealy, Chadwick Boseman and Wendy Raquel Robinson.
5. She is a Fashion Lover.
I don’t even need to elaborate on this one. Taraji says “I have clothes in every closet of my house. The only closet I haven’t taken over yet is my son’s, but give it time…”. “ How green with envy does her shoe closet leave you? *weeping hysterically*
6. She and Mary J Blige are Good Friends
The two are long time friends who still get together. In an interview Mary J revealed that while she was the laid back one, Taraji was more the wild fun loving of the two. I can believe that since we all know from her interviews that Taraji is bubbly and full of spunk.
7. Her First Major Acting Gig was NOT Baby Boy
While Baby Boy (released in 2001) may have been her break out role, in 1997 she played the character Monique on Smart Guy, her first real acting role. She also appeared on Sister, Sister, ER, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle as well as Satan’s School for Girls waaaaay before Baby Boy was even a thought.