Taraji Penda Henson

Taraji P. Henson
Claim this page
Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Birth Name: Taraji Penda Henson  

Nickname/Stage Name: Taraji P. Henson

Birth Date: September 11, 1970  

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Occupation: Actress

Years active: 1992 till Present

Net Worth: $25 million


Personal life

Taraji P. Henson was born in Southeast Washington, D.C., on September 11, 1970, to Bernice (née Gordon), a corporate manager at Woodward & Lothrop, and Boris Lawrence Henson, a janitor and metal fabricator.

She has two youngers, Shawn and April. Her maternal lineage can be traced back to the Masa people of Cameroon, according to mitochondrial DNA analysis.

Henson gave birth to her son Marcell in 1994. His father (who was her high school sweetheart) was murdered in 2003. She became engaged to former NFL player Kelvin Hayden on May 13, 2018. Their engagement was called off in October 2020.


Henson graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland in 1988 and attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, intending to major in Electrical Engineering before transferring to Howard University to major in Drama.


She started her Hollywood career as a guest star on different TV shows before landing her breakthrough role in Baby Boy (2001).

She garnered praise for her portrayal of a prostitute in Hustle & Flow (2005) and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her performance in the Lifetime Television film Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story in 2011.

The actress co-starred as Detective Jocelyn Carter in the CBS drama Person of Interest from 2011 to 2013. She appeared in the ensemble films Think Like a Man (2012) and its sequel Think Like a Man Too (2014).

She debuted as Cookie Lyon in the Fox drama series Empire in 2015, becoming the first African-American woman to win a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

In January 2018, she starred as a hitwoman whose life is turned around when she meets a young boy who awakens the maternal instinct she never knew she had in Sony Screen Gems' thriller-drama film Proud Mary.

Henson starred as a female sports agent who gains the ability to hear men's thoughts in What Men Want (based on the Mel Gibson romantic comedy What Women Want) in February 2009.

She portrayed civil rights activist Ann Atwater in the historical drama The Best of Enemies in April 2019.


Black Reel Award (2006, 2012)

BET Award (2006, 2009)

Austin Film Critics Association Award (2008)

Critics' Choice Television Award (2015)

NAACP Image Award (2015, 2017)

African-American Film Critics Association Award (2016)

Women Film Critics Circle Award (2016)

Golden Globe Award (2016)

MTV Movie & TV Award (2017)

National Board of Review Award (2017)

Palm Springs International Film Festival Award (2017)

Satellite Award (2017)

Screen Actors Guild Award (2017)


"Once you're a mom, always a mom. It's like riding a bike, you never forget."

"Every human walks around with a certain kind of sadness. They may not wear it on their sleeves, but it's there if you look deep."

"At the end of the day, I stand by who I am. I'm a good person."

"Love is the greatest gift that God has given us. It's free."

"I'm always the cousin that can't make it to the family functions because I'm busy."


Voted one of "The 10 Sexiest Women of 2001" by the readers of Black Men Magazine.

Her first and middle names are Swahili for "hope" and "love" respectively.

Friends with Mary J. Blige, Anthony Anderson, Common, and Taye Diggs.

She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2019.


Streetwise (1998)

Hair Show (2004)

Smokin' Aces (2006)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Karate Kid (2010)

Think Like a Man (2012)

No Good Deed (2014)

Hidden Figures (2016)

Acrimony (2018)

The Best of Enemies (2019)

Coffee & Kareem (2020)

Continue Reading
News about Taraji Penda Henson

Ten Most Influential Black Female Celebrities In The World

If you are looking for beautiful black women who have done it all, this list of the most influe...

Other Celebrities


Timini Egbuson

In 2017, Timini hosted GT Bank’s Fashion Week Red Carpet alongside Sharon Ooja.


Esther Chioma Ndubueze

A BBNaija star who says fans have not seen her kind of smile.