Taraji P. Henson
Birth Name: Taraji Penda Henson
Place of Birth: Washington, D.C., U.S.
Date of Birth: September 11, 1970
Ethnicity: African-American [including Cameroonian]
Taraji P. Henson is an American actress and singer. She starred in the movies Baby Boy, Hustle & Flow, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Think Like a Man, and many more, and the television series Empire.
Taraji is the daughter of Bernice (Gordon) and Boris Lawrence Henson. 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.
A DNA test of Taraji found that her matrilineal ancestry is from the Masa people of Cameroon.
Her first and middle names are Swahili. Taraji means hope and Penda means love.
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 the 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 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