Taraji P. Henson has taken over our TV screens, Wednesday nights, on Fox’s new hit, Empire. And whether you love her Cookie Lyons role or not, it’s evident, Henson isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In her recent UPTOWN cover story, Henson gives us insight on her journey as both Cookie (“Cookie is a lot.”) and in Hollywood (“I’ve come a long way from ‘Aye, that’s that girl from Baby Boy’” ); why she refuses to compare herself to anyone else (“If you don’t stay in your lane and you start looking around“) and how her 21-year-old son was racially profiled.
Peep a few excerpts.
Knowing her character Cookie:
I played a lot of characters that could’ve been borderline stereotypical women, but my job as an actress is to make the audience understand and empathize with the people. Cookie is a lot. She wears me out but I know this woman. I’ve done my research inside and out. I took Cookie from Lee and made her my own.
Working for the art, not the accolades:
Right now, the hype is great. I hope that now, because of my name, people are starting to connect the dots. But for me, it’s not about awards because that’s so political, so finicky. Yes, having that beautiful trophy is a great accomplishment, but that doesn’t alter how I’m gonna move in this industry. I just put my knuckles to the wall and I work.
Recalling in her younger years, that one day she’d be financially stable:
My mother said she would be at the dinner table, you know, emotional over bills and stuff, and even as a young girl, I would come over to her and say, ‘Mommy, don’t cry. I’ma be really rich one day and be famous and take care of us.’ I just knew.
There is enough room enough for everybody, not just one or two black actors:
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