In Defense Of Taraji

You gotta hand it to her.

From Baby Boy, to Benjamin Button to the now immortal Cookie Lyons, Taraji P. Henson is a force of nature. She said in her autobiography (Around The Way Girl)  she moved to LA with $700 with a dream to be famous. One would argue, that the girl is, in the words of Tiana from PRINCESS AND THE FROG, almost there. With her role as NASA pioneer and Black Girl Magic Magician Mathematician NASA Engineer Katherine Johnson, I just KNEW that she would snag a nomination for an Academy Award. She already got nominated for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

So I waited. I watched. I stalked my Twitter feed.  I was ready to go ahead and shout her nomination and ride with her just like she rode for the Gorgeous One, Viola Davis when she won her Emmy for her lead role as Annalise Keating (How To Get Away With Murder) a couple years ago. I watched, I waited, I knew it was coming. I shouted for Octavia Spencer, and Viola…and I waited for Taraji. Then, as I heard the silence around her name…she got snubbed. When I talked to my husband about it (he didn’t know why they snubbed her either), I told him, “You know why.”

Yes, I do know why. Let me hip you right quick. Taraji doesn’t fit any mold. She is young, gifted and black with 3 odd vowels in her name. She isn’t what Hollywood likes to affirm. She is symbolic to black women and what black girls dream we represent. She is all of us and all of us are her. You can’t pin her down, or typecast her, or see her as non-multidimensional. When she cheered the other black women that won at the Emmy’s 2 years ago, I cheered with her:  it is good to have people whom are in your field congratulate you. She is outspoken and unapologetic:  when you believe in something, you shouldn’t cower. She is dedicated to her craft and dogged when given accolades:  she told the Golden Globes when the wrapping up music played, “I’ve waited twenty years for this, you gon wait!:” You have to know your worth.

I love Taraji because I see her in me, and me in her. I see her working and striving and rolling forward to what she knows she can do. Even without recognition from the people that you know see you. As a black woman, it profits me nothing to berate, gossip about, or seek to hurt another black woman–it profits nothing. Some of us just jump higher hurdles, with longer distances on harder tracks. Why throw rocks at a woman whom is working just as hard as you? Keep those rocks for the lions that come to snatch you off the path…

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