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Taraji P. Henson, Star of FOX’s "Empire," Speaks at Smithsonian Associates Event

October 13, 2016

Smithsonian Associates presents an afternoon with Academy Award-nominee and Golden Globe-winner Taraji P. Henson, Saturday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. in Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Henson, who stars in FOX’s popular hip-hop drama, Empire, as Cookie Lyon, will talk with NPR’s TV critic Eric Deggans about making a life and building a career.

Washington, D.C. native, Henson discusses her journey to Hollywood in her new book, Around the Way Girl (37 Ink/Atria). She shares stories about her family, including her father, a sometimes-embattled Vietnam vet, and her mother, who survived violence both in the home and on Washington’s tough streets. She opens up about her experiences as a single mother, a journey some saw as a burden but which she saw as a gift. The Howard University drama major also comments on how a degree from a respected university did not help her avoid the pitfalls that come with being a black actress.

In addition to her breakout role on Empire, Henson earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She is also a 2011 Emmy nominee for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for Lifetime’s Taken From Me.

Tickets, which include a pre-signed copy of Henson’s book, Around the Way Girl, are $50 for general admission and $40 for Smithsonian Associates’ members. For tickets and information, the public may call (202) 633-3030 or visit

Smithsonian Associates—the largest museum-based education program in the world—produces vibrant educational and cultural programming inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections and exhibitions. Each year more than 750 individual programs are presented to spark creativity and excite learning in people of all ages in the Washington, D.C., area and across the country. Smithsonian Associates brings the Smithsonian to life through seminars, performances, lectures, studio arts classes and local and regional study tours, as well as many engaging programs for children, including performances and summer day camps.

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Taraji P. Henson (Photo: 37 INK/Atria Books)

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Lauren Lyons
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promotional photo of Hensen