Taraji P. Henson Responds to ‘Empire’ Criticism

Photo Credit: FOX
Photo Credit: FOX

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

FOX has a new hit on their hands with ‘Empire,” but that hasn’t stopped some people from criticizing the show.

Apparently some feel the show portrays negative stereotypes of African-Americans, and they feel the network should do a better job at pushing out shows with black leads.

Interestingly enough, Taraji P. Henson addressed the criticism in a new interview with TIME and she also revealed the one reason she almost turned down the role too.

On what almost made her reject the role, she says:

“When I read the script, Terrence Howard wasn’t cast. I initially thought me and Terrence Howard. If it couldn’t be Terrence Howard, I didn’t want to do it. That’s why I almost turned it down. I just felt like I would have served the project better with my choice of leading man. Thank God they listened to me!”

And on the criticism surrounding her character Cookie, Taraji says:

“… I also didn’t know how people would respond to Cookie. She’s so real and raw, and people like that you either hate or love. There’s really no middle ground because she acts 100 all the time, and some people can’t deal with that. At the end of the day, my job as the artist is to make them understand her. That’s why it’s important I don’t play her big all the time. Like I said, if she’s a stereotype, no one cares. If you show why people are the way they are, people will have more compassion for that person.”


  1. You know, some of us are never happy. You ask, but when you receive, it’s never good enough. We finally are getting the roles, and the opportunities to do big things, yet folks are still b-tching. Keep doing you Taraji…keep doing you!!!

    1. Abso-damn-lutely!! Lol! Somebody is going to always have something to “complain” about and guess what? Nobody cares about those who are bi*****g. They probably complain about everything.They’ll be ok cause #EMPIRE isn’t going anywhere. Hahaahaha! Thee Best Network Show ever!

  2. My only concern with Empire is it’s so good now I hope it stays good. I’ve seen so many shows start off so hot and they lose steam quick. Even though I can’t stand Lee Daniels he has done a great job with Empire.

    1. Yeah I’m a little worried about that too. Especially because people in our age group can be fickle TV watchers. I already see some Scandal and HTGAWM fans turning their backs on those shows and they were all the rage months ago.

  3. I love it, you have shows white folks doing way worse. Television was not originally made for black folks (my white broadcast instructor told me that), which he says if you study the history of television you would know. If Empire had a white cast and Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie played Cookie would ya’ll comments be the same.

  4. I don’t see anything wrong with the show. The characters remind me of Diddy, Rihanna, Chris Brown…etc. though. LOL.

  5. I appreciate how seriously we take our portrayal on TV but I don’t think this show is as bad as some people are saying it is. Even Michelle Obama is a fan.

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