She was recently spotted enjoying a splash at the pool of Nobu’s Los Cabos resort while rocking a stunning swimsuit.
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Taraji Penda Henson, born September 11, 1970, is an American actress and author. She studied acting at Howard University and began her Hollywood career in guest roles on several television shows before making her breakthrough in Baby Boy (2001). She received praise for her performances as a prostitute in Hustle & Flow (2005), for which she received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture nomination; and as a single mother of a disabled child in David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), for which she received Academy Award, SAG Award and Critics Choice Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress. In 2010 she appeared in the action comedy Date Night, and co-starred in the remake of The Karate Kid.
Henson was born September 11, 1970 in Southeast Washington, D.C., the daughter of Bernice (née Gordon), a corporate manager at Woodward & Lothrop, and Boris Lawrence Henson, a janitor and metal fabricator. She has two younger siblings, Shawn and April. She has often spoken of the influence of her maternal grandmother, Patsy Ballard, who accompanied her at the Academy Awards the year she was nominated. Her first and middle names are of Swahili origin: Taraji (“hope”) and Penda (“love”). According to a mitochondrial DNA analysis, her matrilineal lineage can be traced to the Masa people of Cameroon. She has said that North Pole explorer Matthew Henson was “the brother of my great-great-grandfather.”
Henson graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in 1988. She attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she intended to study electrical engineering, before transferring to Howard University to study drama. To pay for college, she worked mornings as a secretary at The Pentagon and evenings as a singing-dancing waitress on a dinner-cruise ship, the Spirit of Washington.
In 1994, Henson gave birth to her son Marcell. His father, Henson’s high-school sweetheart William Lamar Johnson, was murdered in 2003.
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