There are many beautiful black actresses that have combined beauty and solid acting chops into a successful career, but maybe none have done it quite as gracefully as Taraji P (Penda) Henson. Always getting her hustle on Taraji Penda (Swahili for “hope” and “love”) worked two jobs to put herself through Howard University where she won the Triple Threat Award while graduating with her degree in Theatre Arts.
Although a relatively late bloomer in acting (she landed her first major television role at age 27) Taraji quickly made up for lost time appearing in multiple TV shows and over two dozen movies since her 1997 appearance in Sister, Sister. With her signature bob haircut, dimples and infectious smile Taraji is easily recognizable from her roles in movies like I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Date Night and her latest smash hit“Think Like a Man”. Her longtime fans also remember her from classics like Hustle and Flow and her breakout movie role in Baby Boy. An extremely versatile actress, Taraji has shown that she can play anything from comedy to high drama, and true to her “triple threat” honors she has shown herself to be both an accomplished singer and dancer. Her vocals in Hustle and Flow on the track "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" helped Three 6 Mafia win the first ever Academy Award (Best Original Song) for a hip hop artist.
Always comfortable in her own skin, Taraji recently caused quite a stir posing nude for the 2011 PETA campaign I’d Rather Be Naked Than Wear Fur. Of course she continued to stir up conversation about her beauty in her role as Lauren in Think Like a Man.
Showing the world that Taraji is as beautiful and talented as she was when she started, I think we can expect to see much more of Ms. Henson in TV and film for years to come. We certainly hope so.
"I don't think a living being should suffer for the sake of fashion, period." - Taraji P. Henson discussing her reasons for participating in the "I'd Rather Be Naked Than Wear Fur" PETA campaign