If anyone knows about making a come-up in the big bad world of Hollywood, it’s certainly Taraji P. Henson.
The 44-year-old actress has been trying to shake Hollywood’s default view of her as Yvette from the 2001 hit movie Baby Boy, and with her new role as Cookie on Fox’s Empire, she might have just nailed it.
The show has been gaining more and more viewers each week, with over 4 million tuning in throughout the season, and it’s already prepping for season 2. Taraji is ready to take on whatever is next, which she opened up about during her cover story with Uptown Magazine.
The mag talked to Ms. Henson about her character Cookie, but they also gave her a platform to address her thoughts on race and diversity in Hollywood, as well as opportunities for black actors.
Check out some excerpts from the interview below:
On “Empire” Exposing “Black” Issues:
“That’s what art is supposed to do: expose this shit. You know, we’re dealing with subject matter that’s not really dealt with…so let’s lift the carpet up and deal with this dirt. It’s not like we bashed Barack Obama and the show went off. No, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) jumped in his [son’s] ass. That’s real life stuff. So I’m glad you’re mad.”
On Being Cookie Lyons:
“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.”
On Black Actors Making Moves On The Small Screen:
“It feels good that there’s not just one black person. I don’t like that we get fixated on one or two at a time, or three at a time. If you look at Caucasian Hollywood, every year there’s a handful of new faces you’ve never seen before, then after that, they got five movies coming out and they’re introducing you to more talent. So I’m just so happy to see what’s happening on television right now. We have options and that’s how it should be.”
On Jealously and Putting Her Ego in Check:
“I used to have this crazy thing with Amy Adams…You see her [consistently] getting nominated, as she should, because Amy does good work. But, it’s like, ‘Well, I did good work too.’ But if you choose to stay in that place then you become miserable. It’s a pity party and nobody cares. I’m human, so I’ve done it. But I check that because it’s ego and it’s the devil.”
If she’s not on top already, Taraji is certainly on the right path to it! You can pick up your copy of the March 2015 issue of Uptown Magazine on newsstands next month.