The Journey of Taraji P. Henson from a Commoner to the Hollywood Icon that She is Today

Get to know how the actress survived hardships and became a known name in the movie industry

Taraji P. Henson came to Hollywood with nothing but $700 in her pocket and a baby. She never lacked in talent, but the roles she was given were small and had to make do with such minor appearances on TV shows and movies at the beginning.

She first gained recognition when she portrayed a pregnant prostitute in 2005’s Hustle & Flow, where she was the co-star of actor Terrence Howard. But her talent was truly appreciated when she joined Howard once again and portrayed Cookie Lyons on Fox’s Empire. Read on:

Highs and Lows

Henson grew up in a rough part of Washington D.C. and had been through many hellish situations when she was just a child. She shared an incident that happened when she was 6, in her memoir Around the Way Girl that her mother was held at gunpoint while she could only stand by in total terror.

Source: Instagram/@tarajiphenson

To escape her horrible living conditions, Henson chose to stay focused on watching television. Flash forward a few years when Henson was studying theatre in Howard University. She got pregnant as an undergrad and people were saying this might end her career, but she trudged on. After her son was born, she moved to Los Angeles with him. After some struggles, her career picked off and she did excellent roles in The Karate Kid, Hidden Figures, Empire, and Person of Interest among many others.

In 2018, she got engaged to former professional football player Kelvin Hayden and got were about to get married this year, but has postponed it due to the coronavirus.

Let’s hope she has many successful years ahead of her!