Taraji P. Henson ages like a fine wine…she just gets better with age. Need proof? Just take a look at her slay the digital December cover of SELF Magazine.
Feast your eyes on that fro and her glow:
While Taraji has always given a good interview over the years, in this cover story it feels as if the 49-year-old wasn’t afraid to take off the mask of her celebrity status and let the reader see her for the everyday Black woman that she is.
In this sit down with SELF’s Senior Health Editor Patia Braithwaite, the Golden Globe winner opened up about what some aging actresses in Hollywood wouldn’t dare speak about…menopause.
“I would get so low, really, really low, beaten, like never before,” Taraji shared.
“You may have those days [when] you’re like, ‘Oh, I just don’t feel like getting out of bed. I just want to sleep in,’ but you don’t feel heavy. I was just starting to feel heavy a lot, [like] suffocating…. It just came out of nowhere.”
Then, she started doing the math with her age and was like “‘Well, you are pushing 50, girl. At some point things are going to change.’”
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In 2018, @TarajiPHenson launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to help reduce the stigma around mental health in the black community. The foundation helps schools create “peace corners,” or areas in classrooms for students to safely express their feelings. It’s also working to place culturally competent therapists in schools, features a database of therapists anyone can access, and hopes to provide scholarships for black students who want to pursue careers in psychotherapy. “I had aligned all my chakras, and I still wanted to headbutt a bitch,” Henson jokes about her own journey to starting therapy. “It was [a] time where I was like, ‘Oh, I'm just not feeling like myself anymore,’ and my son was going through his issues with becoming a young black male in America with no dad and no grandad. It was like, ‘Okay, I'm not a professional. We both need help,’” she says. Tap the link in bio to read our latest cover story on the advocate and star. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photographer: @micaiahcarter Wardrobe Stylist: @shibonleigh Hair: @tymwallacehair Makeup: @ashuntasheriff Visuals Director: @avenerable Manicure: @ginaedwards_ Prop Stylist: @kaaatessstein
Henson, who has been a fierce mental health advocate in the Black community by starting her own organization Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, also kept it 100 about her own battle with anxiety and depression and how therapy, which she calls a “necessity,” has helped.
“It was [a] time where I was like, ‘Oh, I’m just not feeling like myself anymore.’”
Thanking Empire costar Gabourey Sidibe for sharing her therapist—a sista—Taraji said she felt comfortable to share her self with her.
“When you find that right person, oh my God, the sky cracks open,” adding, the circle of friends also helped.
“Find you a group of women that are going through the same thing. Talk and laugh about it…If you sit on that toilet and you don’t flush that shit, it’s going to consume you.”
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"We’re just not allowed to be vulnerable," @TarajiPHenson says about the stigma surrounding mental health in the African American community. "We have to be strong all the time. This is 400 years of damage—400 years of trauma that we have not dealt with." Tap the link in bio to watch our December cover star share her thoughts on depression, the myth of the strong black woman, and mental health and blackness in an exclusive video for @selfmagazine.
While she plays Cookie on the hit FOX drama, Taraji stressed that the “strong Black woman” archetype can be dangerous for us.
“Sometimes, the weight is just too much and to put on that facade like you are strong all the time is exactly what it is, a facade; that’s whack,” she said in the video above.
When it comes to former co-star Jussie Smollett, who she calls her “son,” she won’t turn her back on him. (Remember, he was accused of lying about a racist and homophobic attack he allegedly endured earlier this year.)
“If I’m your friend, I can’t judge you,” she stated.
“I just can’t. I could do something, and I wouldn’t want you to turn your back. We’re humans. We’re flawed. No one is perfect. I might not necessarily agree with everything, but I think every human deserves some form of humanity, some form of compassion.”
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“Just because I'm a black woman, don't put that strong superhero thing on me,” says @TarajiPHenson in our latest cover story. “I'm a whole black woman, whatever comes with that. All the emotions, all of the rage, the anger, the love, the hurt, the hope, the despair, the strength, the vulnerability. I'm all of that.” Tap the link in bio to read the stunning, powerful profile by @selfmagazine senior health editor @pdotbrathw8. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photographer: @micaiahcarter Wardrobe Stylist: @shibonleigh Hair: @tymwallacehair Makeup: @ashuntasheriff Visuals Director: @avenerable Manicure: @ginaedwards_ Prop Stylist: @kaaatessstein
Finally, she opened about love, sharing that while her fiance, Kelvin Hayde, is 13 years her junior, she pushed him away at first, accused him of cheating and would even block his emails. But, he fought for her love and proved himself worthy.
“He had to suck in his pride and he still didn’t stop… I said, ‘That’s my husband.’”
We love it! We cannot wait for them to jump the broom.
Read Taraji’s SELF cover story in its entirety here.
Taraji (And Her Fro) Slay SELF Cover; Talks Menopause, Mental Health & Jussie was originally published on hellobeautiful.com