Belfast Telegraph

Taraji P. Henson: 'Empire sheds light on gay struggles'

Taraji P. Henson reveals the cast of Empire ignore any homophobic criticism the show receives.

Actress Taraji P. Henson wants to send cookies to all the Empire haters.

The 45-year-old picked up a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Television Drama on Sunday (10Jan16) for her work as Cookie Lyon in the hit Fox musical drama, and took a moment to address criticism the show receives backstage.

Despite its success, the series has been lashed with homophobic criticism, as it features a gay R&B singer, played by Jussie Smollett, but Taraji doesn't tolerate such behaviour.

"We ignore that," she said. "That's nonsense and that's fear, so we understand where that's coming from, so there's nothing to comment on that. People are dealing with this, it's not a joke, that's why it's in the script. It's not for show, it's not for sensationalism. It's because people are struggling with this. And that's why we shed light on it.

"You can't make everybody happy, we don't try to. We just try to touch and affect lives and I think we have. We're always going to have haters, so here's to all my haters! I'll send you cookies, thanks."

Taraji channeled her alter ego on the way to accept her award, handing out cookies to the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, but all joking aside, the actress was thrilled with her prize and insists it proves she's not been pigeonholed in any way.

"I never wanted to be known as an African-American actress or an American actress, so when you say Hollywood Foreign Press (the association behind the Golden Globes), to me that means my talent, my gift, my craft has reached beyond the borders of where I was born, and that means more to me than any trophy, but I love the trophy," she told People magazine. "But that's what it represents."

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