Taraji P. Henson's Unforgettable Roles: A Reflection on Her Career


Jan. 25 2024, Updated 10:31 a.m. ET

Taraji P. Henson first became famous because of her outstanding performance in the film Hustle & Flow. Her role earned her a BET award for Best Actress, as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination. From her first breakthrough movie, her career spiraled upwards and made her one of the shining stars in the world of film.

A Retrospective Look at Taraji P. Henson’s Career

Taraji is a wonder. She radiates confidence, the kind of person who’s sure of her own self-worth. Everything, from her work to her decisions, is clothed in her special kind of confidence. And it has paid off. Throughout her career, she has charmed the world with her talents, as well as made a mark on film and TV that will last forever.

First, there was Hustle & Flow. Taraji played the role of Shug, the woman the main character Djay is in love with. Shug is a sex worker who gets pregnant by an unknown man. Her role is that of a deeply loyal woman with a complex personality, one who becomes a big part of Djay’s aspirations to become a famous rap artist. Shug is a talented, beautiful, and energetic woman, one who is not very much unlike Taraji.

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Then, there was Taraji’s part in Fox’s iconic musical drama Empire. In the show, Taraji played Cookie Lyon, the ex-wife of Lucious Lyon, a musical mogul. Cookie spends 17 years in jail, and when she gets out, makes it her mission to claim what she believes is rightfully hers in the world of music and the empire she helped her ex-husband build. Throughout the show, Cookie is portrayed as a determined, complex, and resilient woman who never thought backing down was an option. In this role, Taraji’s own personal confidence flowed through into her character.

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Another thing Taraji is interested in is her heritage. That’s why a part in the adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Color Purple, was important to her. Her role is a woman who isn’t afraid to break the rules by singing and dancing. As Shug Avery, Taraji was able to show her fearlessness and live up to her name, which in Swahili means “hope love.”

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The actress also starred in the famous films Hidden Figures and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Her movies are memorable, each with its own unique story to tell. Certainly, Taraji has made her mark in the film industry as one of the most influential and talented actresses to have walked into the spotlight.

Taraji P. Henson: Coming Up From a Life of Obscurity

It’s easy to imagine a confident woman like Taraji to have come from comfort and riches. But her story was actually the opposite. She got pregnant while she was in college, and from there, it was an uphill struggle to succeed. But the challenges only made her stronger and braver. They took her to where she is now, an acclaimed and talented actress who won’t back down from anything.

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