- NAME: Taraji Henson
- OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Television Actress
- BIRTH DATE: September 11, 1970 (Age: 43)
- EDUCATION: Oxon Hill High School, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, Howard University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Washington, D.C.
- Full Name: Taraji Penda Henson
- AKA: Taraji P. Henson
- AKA: Taraji Henson
- ZODIAC SIGN: Virgo
Best Known For
African-American actress Taraji Henson starred in Hustle and Flow, and earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
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Taraji Henson was born on September 11, 1970, in Washington, D.C. She landed her first professional acting gig on Smart Guy. In 2001,
"In an industry where you're never enough—you're not pretty enough, you're not tall enough, you're not thin enough, you're too black, you're not black enough—finally, we were more than enough. Thank God."
"The strangest thing is, when I get to the red carpet, I have a plethora of fans screaming my name. I'm not really used to that. I'm used to getting out of the car and they're like, 'Who's that?'"
"...I'm interested in comedy. Really, I am. I think I'm a better comedic actress. I have you all fooled, you see."
she got her big break in the film Baby Boy. Her performance led to the role of Shug in Hustle and Flow. In 2008 she earned an Oscar nomination for her part in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Henson went to appear in such films as Think Like a Man (2012). She also starred in the television drama Person of Interest from 2011 to 2013.
African-American actress Taraji Henson was born to a working-class family in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 1970. When Henson was 2 years old, her parents divorced. Henson has described both of her parents as loving and attentive. She has pointed to her father, Boris—a metal fabricator who was forced to live in his van after being laid off—as a main source of moral support during her upbringing.
As a teenager, Taraji Henson applied to a performing-arts high school but didn't get in. Instead, she attended Oxon Hill High School, graduating in 1988.
Henson spent her first year in college studying electrical engineering at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. After failing pre-calculus, she transferred to Howard University, where she studied theater. At the same time, Henson was working two jobs—one as a secretary at the Pentagon and another as a cruise-ship entertainer. At Howard, she honed her singing, dancing and acting skills, proudly earning herself a "Triple Threat Scholarship."
When Henson was in her junior year of college, she found out she was pregnant. Not only was she determined to keep her baby, but Henson refused to miss a beat when it came to her performance schedule. She asked her theater professors not to treat her any differently. "Don't you bench me because I'm pregnant," she insisted, and her teachers complied. Early in her pregnancy, Henson performed in a Greek tragedy. During her second trimester, she sang and danced in "Dreamgirls." After she had her son, Marcell, Henson kept up her classroom attendance and performances—with her baby in tow. In 1995 she achieved her goal of graduating from Howard University with a degree in theater.
In 1996, Henson and her son moved to Los Angeles so she could pursue a professional acting career. She had just $700 in her bank account at the time. After two years of auditioning while also working an office job to make ends meet, Henson landed her first professional acting gig, a recurring role on the television show Smart Guy. The role led to a part on the sitcom Sister, Sister, starring teen twins Tia and Tamera Mowry. Early in her career, Henson also made appearances on TV's Homicide: Life on the Streets and the popular medical drama ER.
In 2001, Henson got her big break with a starring role in John Singleton's film Baby Boy. Her performance led to another major role, as Shug in the 2004 movie Hustle and Flow.
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