#SummerHours Memoirs: Taraji P. Henson

Goodbye, winter caps—hello, summer hats! It’s that glorious time of year where many of us can switch from content creators to content consumers. NYWIFT members Mellini Kantayya and Kathryn O’Kane have put together #SummerHours, a series of fun summer books, movies, and TV shows by or about women.

By Kathryn O’Kane

In her deeply personal memoir Around the Way Girl, Taraji P. Henson doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff. As a young single mother with few connections in the entertainment business, Henson’s journey as an actor was not easy. Growing up in Washington DC wasn’t exactly a launching pad to Hollywood, but it’s where she discovered her love of the craft and her power of observation.


Henson’s tale of being offered the role of Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button reads like Dickens – professionally, it was incredible exposure, but financially, the offer was insultingly low. However, her ability to look at her career through a long lens allowed her to cast bitterness aside and not let it get in the way of the work. And PS, she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance. And now nobody messes with Cookie from Empire.

(Cover photo by Bridgette Matthews)

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