Taraji Penda Henson (born September 11, 1970) is an American actress and singer. She has appeared in the films Baby Boy (2001), Hustle & Flow (2005), and Four Brothers (2005), and was a cast member on Lifetime Television’s The Division. Henson was born in Washington, DC, and attended Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, MD. Henson’s first and middle names are of Swahili origin, meaning “hope” and “love”, respectively. She is a relative of Matthew Henson, co-discoverer of the North Pole Henson, who worked as a cruise ship entertainer and at the Pentagon before becoming an actress, holds a degree in theater arts from Howard University. Henson made her singing debut in Hustle & Flow; she provided the vocals for the Three 6 Mafia track “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006, giving Three 6 the distinction of becoming the first Black hip-hop act to win in the category. Henson performed the song at the Oscars on March 5, 2006 with the group. She’ll be making her television debut on Boston Legal as a full cast member mid-fourth season.


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