Taraji P. comes back to SA with her family for visit

Golden Globe winner, Taraji P. Henson who plays the role of Cookie Lyon on Empire talks about her time in South Africa and her upcoming projects.
Golden Globe winner, Taraji P. Henson who plays the role of Cookie Lyon on Empire talks about her time in South Africa and her upcoming projects.
Image: Masi Losi

Empire leading lady Taraji P. Henson's last trip to SA inspired her to go back home and go natural.

The 48-year-old actress's last SA visit was in 2016 with co-star Terrence Howard.

Taraji is renowned for her starry turn as ghetto fabulous Cookie Lyon.

"Last time I was here I discovered how beautiful the women are and how lovely their bodies are, naturally. Like every size woman is an hourglass shape. It doesn't matter, they are beautiful from inside out," she said.

"They are very accepting of their own natural beauty and hair. I went back and I cut my hair off, and went natural."

The Oscar-nominee arrived in SA on Sunday with her entire family - her fiancé Kelvin Hayden, son Marcell Johnson, 24, mother and sister.

"What blew me away about South Africa is that I'm so beloved over here. I knew I'd love the country. I feel [at] home here. I just felt a sense of pride. so many black people in America never get to come here. I think it's important, because we are the only race of people who don't know their history and it's hard.

"We are going to visit Soweto because that touched me the last time I was here. I think my mom and fiancé are going to get a kick out of it."

In May, Henson announced her engagement to 35-year-old former NFL player Hayden. She said it was easy to balance her busy work schedule and love life. "Free time for me. means sitting on a sofa with my dog and my man watching Netflix. my fiancé is from Chicago, that's where we film Empire. my whole life can't be centered around Hollywood."

Henson stars in new Disney animation film Ralph Breaks the Internet and gave a world exclusive that she will join the cast of the Minions sequel to be released in 2020. "We haven't announced it yet, but I'm going to be sharing it with my South African family."

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