Actress Taraji P. Henson is standing on the cover of Essence magazine’s March/April 2020 issue in an orange suit, with purple nails, big gold hoop earrings, and a bronze-colored afro, serving vibes from Jack Hill’s 1974 film Foxy Brown starring Pam Grier.
Henson looks as fierce as the character, Mary, whom she portrayed in the 2018 film Proud Mary. In the issue entitled “Take Control,” Henson talks about building her empire and finding true love.
Advocating for mental health awareness on behalf of black people is a part of Henson’s mission. Last June, the Golden Globe Award-winning actress visited her hometown of Washington, D.C., where she testified before Congress during a Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health.
The 49-year-old engaged actress spoke on behalf of her Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after Henson’s late father. “In the African-American community, we don’t deal with mental health issues. We’ve been taught to pray our problems away,” Henson said. “I’m here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this, because I also suffer from depression and anxiety, and if you’re a human living in today’s world, I don’t know how you’re not suffering in any way.”
The bride-to-be is slated to walk down the aisle this summer for the first time with her fiancé Kelvin Hayden. When Henson isn’t advocating for mental health awareness or starring in a film or television show, she’s busy planning her wedding and working on her natural hair care line for women, TPH by Taraji.
“It’s something I’ve been working on since I started wearing a weave back in the 1990’s. I’m from D.C. We were very serious about our hair—I used to do $20 roller sets in college,” Henson shared.
“That was my McDonald’s money—and I’ve found a solution to a real problem. When I first started getting weaves, I loved my hair, but I just wanted to preserve it because I heard these stories about people losing their edges and your hair thinning out from being in the industry. ”