Taraji P. Henson is off the chain!
If you didn’t know this before, girlfriend reminded you (and millions of others) during Sunday’s 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards.
Henson, who won best TV series actress for her role as the feisty Cookie Lyon in Fox’s “Empire,” seemingly slipped into character during her acceptance speech.
When Henson scolded the usher who helped her onstage because he stepped on her gown’s train, I was immediately taken back to one of the many tongue lashings Cookie would give her assistant Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones).
She also kept it “real” when she pointed out the irony in her being awarded for playing someone with a criminal past.
“Who knew that playing an ex-convict would take me around the globe? It just goes to show–I thought it would be Queenie [in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’]. Will [Smith]—I thought it would be, uh, uh, my character from ‘Karate Kid,’ but it’s Cookie, who spent 17 years in jail for selling crack. OK!” Henson told the audience.
And when she was cued to wrap up her speech, the 45-year-old actress let it be known that she wasn’t going anywhere.
"Please wrap?! Uh, I waited 20 years for this. You're going to wait," said Henson, who gained enormous fanfare and became a household name because of her "Empire" role.
Oh, and did I mention she handed out cookies to various attendees as she went to accept her award and dedicated said award to “the haters?”
Yep, the Lyon has definitely been let out of the cage.
Though she wasn’t this animated during the times I interviewed her, I just chalk her behavior up to Taraji being Taraji. Her friendly shenanigans have received mixed reviews on social media. Some people thought she was too turned up and expressed their disappointment while others found her unpretentious and appreciated her frankness.
On Twitter, I saw tweets that said Henson’s mentioning the irony of her winning for playing Cookie was low-key shade, a reminder that Hollywood only seems to award black actors for playing stereotypical roles (see Halle Berry in “Monster’s Ball,” Denzel Washington in “Training Day” and Octavia Spencer in “The Help” for reference).
Was that Henson’s intent? I’m unsure but this isn’t the first time a black actor has pointed out the limitations they experience in the industry. You may recall Davis mentioning the dearth of quality roles for black actresses during her Emmy acceptance speech. And Davis, along with Phylicia Rashad, Alfre Woodard and Gabrielle Union, discussed this topic with Oprah Winfrey during an episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” in 2014. So, it’s no secret.
There's no question that Henson's behavior was entertaining and gave many people life. Below, watch her acceptance speech and judge for yourself. Was she being shady? Should she have brought it down a couple of notches? Also, check out Henson in "Empire's" winter finale. "Empire" returns on March 30 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.