Taraji P. Henson

"Think Like a Man" New York City Premiere - Arrivals

Henson in 2012, photo by PrPhotos

Birth Name: Taraji Penda Henson

Place of Birth: Washington, D.C., U.S.

Date of Birth: September 11, 1970

Ethnicity: African-American

Taraji P. Henson is an American actress and singer. Her roles include the films Baby Boy, Hair Show, Hustle & Flow, Four Brothers, Smokin’ Aces, Talk to Me (2007), The Family That Preys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself, Date Night, The Karate Kid (2010), Larry Crowne, Think Like a Man, No Good Deed (2014), Top Five, Hidden Figures, Proud Mary, Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, What Men Want, The Best of Enemies, Coffee & Kareem, Minions: The Rise of Gru, in voice role; and The Color Purple (2023); the series Person of Interest and Empire, and the made-for-tv movies Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story, Muppets Haunted Mansion, and Annie Live!

Taraji is the daughter of Bernice, a corporate manager at Woodward & Lothrop, and Boris Lawrence Henson, a metal fabricator and janitor. She has a son, Marcel, who was born in 1994. Marcel’s father, William Lamar Johnson, who was her high school sweetheart, was murdered in 2003.

Her first and middle names are Swahili. Taraji means hope and Penda means love. A DNA test of Taraji found that her matrilineal ancestry is from the Masa people of Cameroon.

Taraji’s paternal grandfather was Russell H. Henson (the son of James Francis Henson and Beula V. Craig). James was the son of Joseph Henson and Mary Jane.

Taraji’s paternal grandmother was named Mary Madeline Thomas.

Taraji’s paternal great-great-grandfather, Joseph Henson, was a half-brother of explorer Matthew Henson (Matthew Alexander Henson). Matthew was the first African-American Arctic explorer. He was an associate of explorer Rear Admiral Robert Peary on seven voyages, over nearly 23 years. The Henson family lived in Nanjemoy, Maryland.

Taraji’s maternal grandfather was surnamed Gordon.

Taraji’s maternal grandmother is named Patsy Ballard.

Sources: Family history of Taraji P. Henson – https://www.hollywoodancestry.com

Genealogy of Taraji P. Henson (focusing on her father’s side) – https://www.geni.com

10 Responses

  1. phaedra says:

    Looks like Michael Jackson in the Thriller era.

  2. Princess says:

    I know a Mexican girl who looks like her…. I thought she would have been half Mexican or some other Hispanic ethnic group.

  3. midori29 says:

    She is Black and now she is popular , she will be the next “Black it girl” beating out Halle Berry and Kerri Washington. And thank goodness , its finally a BLACK woman. But as the media will do they will go diggin in her racial background trying to find some non-black ancestry because she has a cafe au lait light complexion and the whites assume real 100% black women cannot . Its time to get back to the real and talented black women. I love Taraji, you go girl!

  4. MonaLisa says:

    I was so sure she has cameroonian ancestry. Her eyes say so

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