As Black History Month slowly comes to an end, Live Civil wants to appreciate the greatness of Taraji P. Henson for day 27 of our #LiveCivilBHM series.
Taraji P. Henson has surely made a name for herself in Hollywood, and we’re not only talking about her dynamic “Cookie Lyon” role on Empire. Though it may seem like an effortless rise to fame, it was the opposite. The Washington, D.C. native graduated from Howard University with a degree in Fine Arts, after getting pregnant her junior year. To cover expenses, the aspiring star worked at as a secretary at day and a singing-dancing waitress on the Spirit of Washington dinner cruise ship at night.
Although she had to deal with the death of her son’s father, Taraji was determined to pursue her acting career in Los Angeles, CA with just $700 in her bank account and her baby by her side. She got her first acting job on Smart Guy, but the true big break came from her role as Yvette on Baby Boy starring Tyrese Gibson. After that, her stamp in Hollywood was only beginning. Seven years later, Taraji went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for her work with Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and a number one box office hit in 2014’s No Good Deeds.
Fast forward to 2015 with a Golden Globe under her belt and gracing the covers of Glamour, Ebony, Essence, and more, Ms. Henson is still a forceful woman on and off the screen. She prides herself on her collaboration with PETA’s I’d Rather Be Naked campaign, as well as her work with NOH8 to advocate for same-sex marriage. All the while being a dedicated, loving single mother to her son.
Taraji P. Henson’s story of the rise of the underdog is truly inspiring. She’s an inspiration for not only aspiring actresses, but is a model for single mothers everywhere. Happy Black History Month!