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Friday, January 23, 2009

Who is Taraji P. Henson

Who is Taraji Penda Henson? She is an Academy Award-nominated American actress. She is best known for her roles as Yvette in Baby Boy (2001), Shug in Hustle and Flow (2005) and Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).

Henson was born September 11, 1970 in Southeast Washington, DC, the daughter of Bernice, a manager at Woodward & Lothrop, and Boris Henson, a janitor.[1] She attended Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, MD. Henson's first and middle name are of Swahili origin with her first name meaning "hope" and her middle name meaning "love."[2] She first attended NC A&T where she started a major in Electrical Engineering. She later transferred to Howard University.[3]

Henson worked two jobs—in the morning as a secretary at the Pentagon and in the night as a singing and dancing waitress on a dinner cruise ship— to pay for Howard University. She graduated with a degree in Theater Arts. Her son Marcel was born in 1995; his father, M.J. was murdered in 2002. Taraji's father died in 2006.[4]
Taraji Henson is the great granddaughter of Matthew Henson, one of the explorers who discovered the Geographic North Pole.[5]
Henson has said in an interview that her philosophy in life is: "Love as often as you can. Dance like nobody's watching. Travel. Eat. Try new foods because, like my character says, you never know what's coming for you and when it's time to let go, you got to let go."[6]


Ms. Henson has appeared in the films Four Brothers (2005), Talk To Me (2007), Smokin' Aces (2007), Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys (2008),[7] and Not Easily Broken (2009).[8] In late 2008, she starred opposite Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Henson plays the role of Queenie, Benjamin's mother, in a performance which has garnered critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[9] She noted in an interview that, "Queenie is the embodiment of unconditional love."[10]
Henson has also been a cast member on several television shows, including Lifetime Television's The Division and ABC's Boston Legal for one season.[11] Her recurring appearances in television include the character Angela Scott on the ABC television show "Eli Stone" in December 2008. She has guest-starred on several television shows, such as The WB show Smart Guy playing the role of Monique (1997–1998), the Fox Television show House in 2005 and the CBS Television show CSI in 2006.[12]

Henson made her singing debut in Hustle & Flow; she provided the vocals for the Three 6 Mafia track "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp". The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006, giving Three 6 the distinction of becoming the first Black hip-hop act to win in the category. Henson performed the song at the Oscars on March 5, 2006 with the group.
Henson has made several appearances on music videos. Henson appeared in the rapper Common's music video called Testify in 2005 as the wife of a soon to be convicted murderer. On December 5, 2008, Jamie Foxx premiered his new music video "Just Like Me" on TBS featuring Henson and T.I.

She received these Awards and nominations

2009, Best Supporting Actress: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nominated)
Austin Film Critics
2008, Best Supporting Actress: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Winner)
BET Awards
2006, Best Actress (Winner)
Black Movie Awards
2005, Best Supporting Actress: Hustle & Flow (Winner)
Black Reel Awards
2008, Best Supporting Actress: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nominated)
2006, Best Ensemble: Hustle & Flow (Nominated)
2006, Best Ensemble: Four Brothers (Nominated)
2006, Best Supporting Actress: Hustle & Flow (Winner)
2002, Best Actress: Baby Boy (Nominated)
Critics Choice Awards
2009, Best Supporting Actress: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nominated)
2009, Best Ensemble: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nominated)
Gotham Awards
2007, Best Ensemble: Talk to Me (Winner)
Image Awards
2009, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nominated)
2008, Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Talk to Me (Nominated)
2006, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Hustle & Flow (Nominated)
MTV Movie Awards
2006, Best Breakthrough Performance: Hustle & Flow (Nominated)
2006, Best Kiss: Hustle & Flow (Nominated) shared w/ Terence Howard
Satellite Awards
2008, Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Talk to Me (Nominated)
Screen Actors Guild
2008, Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nominated)
2008, Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nominated)
2008, Outstanding Cast in a Television Drama: Boston Legal (Nominated)
2007, Outstanding Cast in a Television Drama: Boston Legal (Nominated)
2006, Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture: Hustle & Flow (Nominated)
St. Louis Film Critics
2009, Best Supporting Actress in Motion Picture: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nominated)
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