Taraji P. Henson Channels Cookie With Sexy Chain Dress at 2015 Emmys, Explains …

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cookie Lyon is a national treasure — but Taraji P. Henson shouldn’t win an “Empire” Emmy just yet.

When I was a kid, my mother broke one of the many rules of Good Parenting, and told me that she did not believe I could be anything that I wanted to be.The double-Oscar nominee and SAG Award winner, who’s been nominated for Golden Globes in both film and television, is up for a history-making statue — she and “Empire’s” Taraji P.Empire fans – and creator Lee Daniels – may still be seething from the record-shattering show’s relatively paltry number of Emmy nominations, but actress Grace Gealey, who plays Anika Calhoun, says all the “attention” the show received has been a reward in itself. Regardless of who wins, Davis is happy to see Hollywood moving in the right direction. “I’m glad that a lot of artists of color are being acknowledged,” Davis tells Variety. “I’ve gone through my entire career and I’ve worked with so many brilliants artist of color who are completely anonymous to people because they haven’t had the role that pops them,” Davis explains. “And now here are all these black artists who have roles, people who are writing for them, and they’re popping — you know who they are, they’re in the public mindset.” She continues, “And also, we’re playing roles that you haven’t seen on TV before.

Gealey shared her reaction to the snubs with PEOPLE Now: “When you’re a part of a show you put so much into it, you’ve invested so much that you really would like to see that be recognized in a different way.” Fox, Empire’s home network, will broadcast the 67th Emmy Awards hosted by Andy Samberg live from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on Sunday at 8 p.m. Few things aside from the election of Barack Obama have shocked me over the years, but I did receive one unforgettable surprise a few months back, during the season finale of “Empire.” When I heard Taraji P.

Henson, as Cookie Lyon, utter the words “Run them pearls, ho,” on national television, on a popular show that I knew people from all backgrounds were watching, I couldn’t believe how much things seemed to have actually changed over time. The scene—which culminated in a smack-down between Cookie and Anika Calhoun—was like one of those classic skits from late ‘90s rap albums, made popular by the Ruff Ryders and rappers signed to Def Jam. Hearing Henson utter the phrase made me feel like DMX, Lil’ Kim or Beanie Sigel had been invited into the “Empire” writer’s room; all rules of popular TV had been broken and—like other big moments in the season—it seemed that we had entered a new Golden Age of TV where soapy dramas were suddenly going to be allowed at the big kids’ table with shows like “Mad Men” and “The Good Wife” (or else create their own table entirely). A character like hers will open up the door for a wider array of diverse women of color on TV who will be written with more concern for authenticity than respectability. The fact that the Emmys are taking notice of this important character with a lead actress nomination is exciting and, hopefully, a sign of better things to come.

Henson was going to steal the show, her role was not always written in a way that gave her character the depth it needs to compete with the other great talents nominated this year. And while it’s exciting to consider that Henson could make history if she wins—as the first African-American actress to earn an Emmy for lead actress in a drama—Viola Davis delivered a powerhouse performance on “How to Get Away With Murder.” This was also the premiere season for the ABC show, but unlike Henson on “Empire” (where she’s really the costar to Terrence Howard’s Lucious Lyon), Davis’ Annalise Keating was given a much meatier role to sink her teeth into. We saw her as a teacher, lover and child, and much of her most nuanced work was done alongside Cicely Tyson, who played her mother in the final episodes. While Henson might certainly be capable of as much range, she has not yet been given the chance to prove it as Cookie on “Empire.” If anyone should make history for this particular moment in TV, it should be Davis. Although Davis and some of the other nominees might have turned in better performances, there are few things more important in 2015 than dismantling black respectability—whether in the political sphere or in pop culture.

The good news is that if the progression on the first season of “Empire” is any indication of what’s to come, the quality of the show will only get better, and Henson will be given even more to work with in the future. If so, we can definitely anticipate more Emmy nominations where she’ll be able to do like Cookie, dismantle the competition—pearls and all—and take what’s hers.

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