10 Things To Know About Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson is nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Queenie in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” but do you know anything else about her? Keep reading for some fascinating trivia about the 38-year-old D.C. native that will impress your friends when you’re watching the Academy Awards this Sunday night. 1. She supported herself while attending Howard University by working as a secretary at the Pentagon in the morning and as a singing/dancing waitress on a dinner cruise ship. She graduated with a degree in Theater Arts.
2. She’s a single mother of 14-year-old Marcel, whose father is dead. And she makes him breakfast every morning so he’ll do well in school.
3. Taraji means love or faith in Swahili. Penda, her middle name, means beloved in the same language. Her family calls her T.J.
4. Henson’s breakout role was Yvette in “Baby Boy,” which starred Tyrese Gibson.
5. She played Shug, a pregnant prostitute, in “Hustle & Flow,” and lent her vocals to “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” Three 6 Mafia’s Oscar-winning song on the soundtrack.
6. Before she received the offer to play Queenie in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” she had planned to have a garage sale to raise cash. The sign said everything “from the rooter to the tooter” was up for sale.
7. Henson drew inspiration for Queenie from the women in her family — her grandmother, mother and four aunts — who represented every age she had to play.
8. She starred in Common’s “Testify” music video, playing a woman whose husband is on trial for murder. She and Common are rumored to have been dating.
9. She dated Hill Harper and is friends with Tyrese Gibson, Sanaa Lathan, and Nia Long.
10. Henson played Whitney Rome on “Boston Legal.”


  • She has a tattoo of wings across her lower back.
  • Henson is a descendant of Matthew Henson, one of the explorers to who discovered the geographic North Pole.
  • [USAToday.com]