Taraji P. Henson Opens Up About Mental Health And The Black Women Community | Film News
After her father passed away in 2018, Taraji P. Henson founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in his memory, to eradicate the stigma around mental health in the African-American community. For this reason, Variety nominated Taraji as one of their Power of Women Honorees this month.
In the magazine interview, she opened up about her personal depression, explaining that mental health is a personal issue. She decided to start a foundation that works to eradicate the stigma with mental health issues, and she also reveals she actually suffers from anxiety and depression.
To handle her depression, Henson stepped back from social media and she regularly sees a therapist. “That’s the only way I can get through it,” she says. “You can talk to your friends, but you need a professional who can give you exercises. So that when you’re on the ledge, you have things to say to yourself that will get you off that ledge and past your weakest moments.”
During the interview, Taraji told Variety that the role of Cookie in Empire completely changed her career, in both positive and negative ways. Since Cookie blew up, she have been recognised internationally and sometimes people see her just as ‘Cookie Lyon’, but there’s much more beyond.
“But look, you have to take the good with the bad. This is what I wanted. This is what I worked my ass off for my entire career. I’m not complaining, but things are just different now. I wouldn’t change a thing”. She explained.
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For Variety's 2019 #PowerOfWomen: New York issue, Variety profiled Taraji P. Henson who told us about how she's working to eradicate mental health stigmas in black communities: “We’re walking around broken, wounded and hurt, and we don’t think it’s OK to talk about it. We don’t talk about it at home. It’s shunned. It’s something that makes you look weak. We’re told to pray it away." Taraji opens up about her own depression and anxiety, and how she handles it, at the link in bio. (📷: @cliffwatts)
Also the Oscar-nominated star discussed about women of colour in the film industry and their opportunities. She said in recent years the story has changed – women in general not only have to deal with stereotyped role. “There is more to African-American women than just one story that we would always see. […] But it’s about how you portray the truth. That’s the job of an actor, and it’s a tricky job.”
When Variety asked her if there are more opportunities for women of colour today, she explained that now more stories are being told, different stories, different ages. “Look at all the old geezers getting a comeback!”