The Truth About The Taraji P. Henson Revealed In Around The Way Girl

Hey Cuties,

I had another uber busy weekend, while it was a great I’m exhausted, I’m looking forward to hibernating a bit in the winter. Our temps went from three days of a sunny 80 to a windy 65. On Saturday I headed downtown to the National Museum of Natural History and I had to fight the throngs of people and the wind that was forcing me to walk in the opposite direction. Skinny girl problems, I know. Did I mention that I drove around for a full twenty minutes looking for parking? If you’ve never been here, welcome to DC. Where our parking sucks and when you do find a spot we will charge you two arms, two legs, one lung and half a fingernail. Seriously.

I found a spot, gave my first born and rushed to the museum. I cut the line a bit because I was in a hurry. Luckily the short line was for the event so I wasn’t a jerk or anything. I found my way to the Baird Auditorium. I located the media section which took me to the front row and I was able to locate my name on the seat. MY NAME WAS ON THE SEAT! That will never get old, I swear.

Taraji P. Henson new book
Smithsonian Associates, Taraji P. Henson: This Cookie Doesn’t Crumble

The Smithsonian Associates put on this event; this is the second event of theirs that I attended. The first event was with the amazing cast of Scandal. This event was to discuss Taraji’s new book, Around the Way Girl. She discusses her journey from Washington, D.C. to Hollywood. She shares stories about her family, including her father, a sometimes-embattled Vietnam vet, and her mother, who survived violence both in the home and on D.C.’s tough streets. She opens up about her experiences as a single mother, a journey some saw as a burden but which she saw as a gift.

Taraji P. Henson new book
Taraji P. Henson {Photo Credit: MimiCuteLips}

Taraji P. Henson has been in the industry for many years now. She won our hearts over in 2001 in a comedy drama film titled Baby Boy. She portrayed Yvette, alongside with now actor/singer Tyrese Gibson.   If you live under and rock and have never heard of the show Empire, Taraji plays Cookie Lyon. Cookie is unapologetically the HBIC on that show. Taraji is a D.C. native and it is always nice to see someone from the area make it big. In addition to her breakout role on Empire, she has earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She is also a 2011 Emmy nominee for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for Lifetime’s Taken From Me.

Taraji P. Henson new book
Taraji & NPR’s TV critic Eric Deggans {Photo Credit: MimiCuteLips}

Eric did a great job asking the questions we would have asked. He touched on the topics that we wanted to hear about. The discussion was very relaxed, in true Taraji fashion she really is an Around the way Girl. Despite all of the fame in that moment she was a DC girl, she even humored us with some DC vernacular. Above all else she was raw and honest; I love people who aren’t afraid to share their truth. We are who we are based on our life experiences, good or bad own it.

Taraji P. Henson new book
Taraji P. Henson {Photo Credit: MimiCuteLips}

Taraji has a big movie coming out this Christmas and I can’t freaking wait to see it. Hidden Figures is the name and Taraji is portraying Katherine Johnson.  She is an African American physicist, space scientist, and mathematician who calculated launch windows, emergency back-up return paths for many flights as well as flight trajectories for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. Why is this amazing woman just now getting a movie? Note Apollo 13 was made into a movie in 1995 and there was zero mention of Katherine Johnson. How sway? Katherine made essential contributions to the US aeronautics and space programs. Is your mouth open yet? She was known for her accuracy and technical leadership with NASA for decades.  Katherine who is now 98 years old graduated High School at 14. She took every single math class her college had to offer and at age 18 she graduated.  On November 16th of last year Katherine was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I’m bubbling over with excitement I am here for this story and I’m bringing the kids.

Taraji P. Henson new book
Taraji P. Henson {Photo Credit: MimiCuteLips}

Fun Fact: Taraji is a proud Howard University drama major. Her drama teacher was in the audience, Taraji said that woman gave her the blues. Yet she credits her for the skills and talents she developed while at Howard. Taraji told us her former professor still critiques her work and sends the notes to her. Hilarious!  For all of the tea you can read her new book.


Are you a Taraji fan? Chat with me in the comment below or FB, IG or Twitter.


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  1. I am a fan! And I’m looking forward to her new movie and I’ve got to read her book too. I’m so glad that Katherine Johnson is finally getting the credit she deserves and I am moved to tears that she is 98 and will hopefully get to see the movie.

  2. It was so nice to know more about her and her life behind the scenes – especially if you were a fan. Me – not being a fan, I enjoyed it very much. I find these things interesting especially from a well known person.

  3. I love her. She is a fantastic actress. I am really looking forward to her new movie this December. I love movies that portray strong female characters.

  4. Great feature, Mimi! You always find the neatest events to attend. I love that D.C. has so much to offer, but that traffic gives me the blues. Did you get a copy of her book? I might actually read it with a group of ladies. Thanks for the heads up on the movie too!

    1. Thanks Michelle, girl the traffic will cause you to slit your wrist.I purchased a copy of her book before the event. Reading it with a group is a fun idea.

  5. I am so humbled by the images you took, they show her personality as a simple yet empowered woman with great self-awareness and humility.
    I can’t wait to get her book.

  6. Taraji is getting some incredible roles and I’ll definitely be seeing Hidden Figures. I didn’t know about Katherine Johnson. It will be interesting to see what the behind-the-scenes work is like on those high-profile flights.

  7. Oh wow this is such an interesting story – how have I never heard about it before? Certainly will be looking out for the movie!

  8. What a cool experience to be able to hear about hers. I’m with you. I love when people are able to share their truths and own them. It takes a brave person to do that.

  9. Taraji P Henson is really a strong women and has been through so much in her life. This book I am going to have to read for sure because I have been hearing so much about it. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  10. I didn’t know she had a book. I will have to check that out. Very cool you got to attend the event. Sucks you had to give an arm toe finger nail first born and the likes for parking, but you made it!

  11. I am a Taraji fan fo sho, even though I don’t watch Empire. I love a lot of her independent films and can’t wait to see her in Hidden Figures. I’ll have to get this book asap!

  12. I had no idea that Taraji had written a book. I must check it out. SN: I refused to drive during my trip to DC earlier this year. Uber….the entire trip

  13. I must not get out much because she’s new to me. Great interview though and I can’t wait to check out her new movie this Winter.

  14. I want to see the movie Hidden Figures as well! I saw the previews and it looks like a great movie!! I wished I could have been there. I love when stars can be real and open! It makes them human and sometimes there fans forget that! I miss DC but not the cold weather!

  15. You are so blessed you got to see Taraji!!!! That is my girl and I am so proud of everything she accomplished. I really loved her in Baby Boy and some people thought she would never make it this far because that was a like a “hood” classic – but no! I would love to support her and buy her memoir! I hope she comes to Atlanta and I want to buy her MAC lippy too!

  16. Taraji is one amazing woman! I love her honesty and candidness in revealing her life story. It makes me admire her even more. I can’t wait to watch her portray Katherine Johnson. That would be awesome!

  17. I love Taraji!! She is amazing and I am so jealous right now. I would have loved to see her.

  18. How cool! I am a fan, but my oldest is a super fan I think! He is considering Howard and I keep telling him about the awesome people who went there… he only mentions her. LOL!

  19. I am jealous. I would have loved to have been there. Aside from me, my husband would have wanted to go. Great recap. You go to the best places.

  20. Mimi, she sounds like a great woman all around! Taraji is talented and fun to watch. I really enjoy her work and knowing more about her here was a nice addition to how highly I think of her. Nice read!

  21. I’ve always loved Taraji and I always felt like she was super down to earth and relatable. Even at such an amazing time in her career looking at the shots you can tell she’s humble and approachable. Great read and insight! I’m gonna get the book!

  22. I remember Taraji form her “Division” days, I thought she played an undercover genius really well so her portrayal of Katherine Johnson will definitely be on point! Haven’t read the book, but I am determined to get it now.I have been a fan for years! so glad to see her doing so well. she deserves it.

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