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Taraji P. Henson

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Taraji P Henson

Taraji P. Henson was born in Washington DC on September 11, 1970. She grew up in a very supportive home and often credits her parents for making her into the strong woman she is today. In college, she majored in electrical engineering but after failing pre-calculus, she decided to attend Howard University to major in Theater. In order to pay for school she worked two jobs: one in the morning as a secretary in the Pentagon and one at night as a singer and dancer on a cruise ship. During her second year in college she became pregnant with her son but even during pregnancy, she didn't miss a beat when it came to school. She graduated from Howard University in 1995.


Taraji was 26 years old when she packed her things and drove to LA with her 2-year-old son and only $700. She moved in with a relative who gave her two months to get on her feet. It took Taraji only two weeks to find a job and get a car. She got her first major recurring tv role on the hit show Smart Guy. In 2001, she landed the gig that forever changed her life: she was given a lead role in the late John Singletonā€™s film, Baby Boy. In 2004 she played another lead role in the hit movie Hustle and Flow. The song she recorded for this film alongside Terrance Howard won an Academy Award for best song.


In 2008 Taraji played the character of Queenie alongside Brad Pitt in the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Her performance earned her an Academy Award nomination. Taraji then went on to star in many more hit movies including films by Tyler Perry and Steve Harvey's Think Like A Man Series. In 2015 Taraji got perhaps her biggest role yet as Cookie on the TV phenomenon Empire.


Today, Taraji continues to be one of the hardest working and most successful women in film in our lifetime. She has appeared in over 20 tv shows and in over 40 films. Her story is a powerful one that inspires and reminds us to remain humble and strong and to never give up on our dreams.