Taraji P. Henson Talks Mental Health During Quarantine

>> James: WELCOME BACK, TONIGHT OUR GUEST IS A NOMINATED ACTOR FROM HUSTLE AND FLOW, HIDDEN FIGURES, COVERREE AND SCAR I'M AND SO MUCH MORE, THEMAGNIFICENT, THE GLORIOUS, THE ONE, THE ONLY, TIR– TARAJI PHENSON IS WITH US, HOW ARE YOU, ARE YOU WELL? >> I AM AS WELL AS I CAN BE.

>> James: WHERE ARE YOU RIGHTNOW? WHO ARE YOU WITH? >> I AM FINALLY BACK IN SOUTHERNCALIFORNIA.

I HAD MY SON, MY DOG, MY BROTHERWHO WAS ALSO MY ACTING COACH, MORE LIKE MY BROTHER, WE WENT TOCOLLEGE TOGETHER.

HE WAS HOUSE SITTING FOR ME ANDIN THE PROCESS OF ABOUT TO MOVE AND COVID HAPPEN AND THEY SHUTTHE CITY DOWN.

HE GOT STUCK UP HERE.

MY FIANCE IS STUCK IN CHICAGOBECAUSE HE HAD TO FINISH BUSINESS THERE BECAUSE WE ARELEASING OUR CONDO.

SO SOMEONE HAD TO STAY ANDFINISH THAT UP.

SO YEAH.

>> James: WELL, I GOT TO SAY, ISOLATION IS LOOKING GOOD ON YOU, I AM LOVING THIS WHOLELOOK.

DID YOU DO THIS YOURSELF? >> I DID THIS MYSELF.

TOOK ME THREE DAYS BUT I WILLTIME, I'M LEARNING A LOT.

I DID MY NAILS, MY MAKEUP.

GOOD OLD TIME IN MY GLAM-UP.

>> James: ISN'T IT INCREDIBLEALL THE THINGS THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU WERE CAPABLE OF.

>> ACTUALLY, I WAS CAPABLE OF ITALL, I JUST, I WANTED TO GO INTO COSMETOLOGY WHEN I COULD NOT, WHEN I DID NOT GET ACCEPTED INTO THE PERFORMING ARTS HIGH SCHOOL.

I WAS LIKE WHAT ELSE DO I LOVETO DO AND I WAS A YEAR LATE APPLYING TO COSMETOLOGYSCOOVMENT BUT IT WAS SOMETHING THAT I ALWAYS HELD DEAR TO ME.

AND SO MY LITTLE SIDE HUSBAND NELL COLLEGE WAS I DID $20ACRYLICNESS, I DID $20 ROLLER SETS.

AND THAT IS HOW I ATE INCOLLEGE.

>> James: I JUST NOTICED, IHAVE NEVER SEEN THIS TATTOO ON YOUR BICEP BEFORE, THE TRUTH.

>> OH NO, YES.

>> James: IS THAT IN CASEANYBODY UPSETS YOU IN YOUR LIFE, YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

>> I HAVE BEEN CALLED THE TRUTHA LOT.

I HAVE AM KNOWN BECAUSE I CANONLY TELL THE TRUTH.

LIKE I CAN'T TELL A LIE.

I GET PAID TO LIE, YOU KNOW WHATI MEAN, SO IN MY REAL LIFE IT IS VERY HARD FOR ME.

>> James: NOW TARAJI I WANT TOTALK TO YOU ABOUT THIS.

YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHINGINKREBLED.

YOU LAUNCHED THIS BRILLIANTCAMPAIGN, FREE VIRTUAL THERAPY FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS WHO HAVEBEEN AFFECTED BY COVID-19.

TELL ME ABOUT IT, HOW IT ISGOING AND WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO THIS AND HOW PEOPLE CAN GETINVOLVED.

>> WELL, I GOT, I WAS INCLINEDTO DO SOMETHING BECAUSE AS YOU KNOW, MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW, INTHE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY WE DON'T DEAL WITH MENTAL HEALTHIT SAY GENERATIONAL THING THAT HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN, THE– ITMAKES YOU LOOK WEAK OR WHEN WE DO IT, SHOW WE ARE DEMONIZED FORIT AND WE HAVE TRUST ISSUES, YOU KNOW, WITH MEDICINE AND STUFF.

SO IT I HAVE BEEN TO CONGRESS, ON THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS, AND WHEN THIS WHOLE THING WENT DOWN, I JUST THOUGHT ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ISOLATING ORSUFFERING IN ISOLATION, YOU KNOW.

I THINK ABOUT PEOPLE WHO MAY NOTBE, BECAUSE OF SO MANY REASONS, UNEMPLOYMENT, THIS JUST LIVINGCONDITIONS.

YOU CANNOT AFFORD MENTAL HEALTH.

AND RIGHT NOW WE ALL NEED IT ANDIS I'M JUST THINK BEING THOSE UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES WHEREPEOPLE, THAT'S THE LAST THING THAT THEY ARE THINK BEING IS HOWDO I TAKE CARE OF MY MENTAL HEALTH AND ARE TRAUMATIZED BYTHIS.

BECAUSE THE NUMBERS ARE ALARMINGIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY.

WE ARE BEING DISPROPORTIONATELYAFFECTED BY THIS COVID-19.

AND THAT IS TRAUMATIZING.

AND SO I'M JUST TRYING TO DO MYPART, YOU KNOW.

WE'RE OFFERING FIVE THERAPYSESSIONS FOR FREE.

WE'RE ASKING PEOPLE TO DONATE.

TO DONATE WHATEVER YOU CAN, JUSTTRYING TO SAVE LIVES AND MAKE THIS A BIT EASIER ON PEOPLE.

AN ANOTHER THING, YOU KNOW, ITHINK THIS IS THE TIME TO EVEN TRY THERAPY, IF YOU HAVE EVERHAD ANY KIND OF RESERVATIONS BECAUSE NOW ARE YOU IN THECOMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME AND YOU HAVE NOTHING BUT TIME.

AND WHY NOT WORK ON YOURSELF.

I AM DOING IT.

>> WELL, ALSO OF THERE IS ATHING, YOU KNOW, TO GET ACROSS TO PEOPLE WHICH HAVE I EVENDEALT WITH SAY WITH MY PARENTS, FOR EXAMPLE WHO ARE FROM AGENERATION OF LIKE HEAD DOWN, PULL YOURSELVES UP, GETS ON WITHIT, YOU ARE A FINE.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

TO PEOPLE THAT WHEN ARE YOU ATYOUR MOST VULNERABLE, WE ARE ALL AT OUR MOST VULNERABLE WE MIGHTACTUALLY BE THE STRONGEST WE KOAFER BE, YOU KNOW.

>> AND SEE THAT IS WHY I AMTAKING THIS TIME NOW, WE CAN GET A LOT OF PEOPLE.

THE– WAS SHUT DOWN FOR 30MINUTES WHEN I DID CNN.

AND THAT JUST SHOWS YOU HOW MANYPEOPLE NEED THIS HELP, YOU KNOW.

I MEAN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS ATAN ALL-TIME HIGH, CHILD ABUSE IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH, ALCOHOLISMIS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, YOU KNOW, SO I AM JUST TRYING TO BE A LITTLE HELP, A LITTLEBREATHE OF FRESH AIR IN THE DARK TIMES.

>> James: GIVE THE NUMBER, NOSTIGMA.

>> TO 707007.

>> James: 707070.

NOW WE'VE GOT TO TALK ABOUT THESERIES FINALE OF EMPIRE.

NOW YOU WERE IN THE MIDDLE OFFILMING, WAS IT THE LAST EPISODE OR SECOND TO LAST EPISODE WHENALL OF THIS HAPPENED? >> IT WAS THE SECOND TO LASTEPISODE SO WE WERE SLATED TO FILM 20 EPISODES.

WE HAD 18 IN THE CAN.

WE WERE WORKING ON 19 WHEN COVIDHAPPENED AND SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING.

AND SO I HONESTLY, WHEN PEOPLEGO HOW IS THE FINALE.

YOU CAN GIVE US ANYTHING.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY CAREERSINCE I HAVE BEEN ON THIS SHOARKS I CAN'T GIVE YOU SQUATBECAUSE I DON'T KNOW.

I DON'T KNOW HOW IT'S GOING TOEND.

>> I KNEW HOW IT WAS GOING TOEND IF WE HAD CONTINUED BECAUSE I RAID ALL THE SCRIPTS BUT NOW IJUST KNOW WHAT WE FIMMED AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT KIND OF MAGICTHEY'RE GOING TO MAKE.

I'M SURE IT WILL BE BRILLIANTBECAUSE THEY ARE REALLY GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO.

BUT IT WILL BE MOVIE MAGICIN EDITING ROOM.

>> James: SO YOU DIDN'T EVENGET TO SAY A PROPER GOOD-BYE TO OFF THESE PEOPLE YOU HAVE WORKEDWITH FOR SO MANY YEARS.

>> AND IT BREAKS MY HEART.

BECAUSE I AM A HUGE CREW PERSON.

I TAKE CARE OF MY CREW.

I TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE THAT TAKECARE OF ME.

AND LISTEN, I BROUGHT THEM ALLLETTERMAN SWEATER BECAUSE IT WAS OUR SENIOR YEEMPLET I LOVE TOPLAY SANTA.

AND I COULDN'T DO IT.

I COULDN'T SAY GOOD-BYE.

I COULDN'T HUG.

WE HAVE BEEN FAMILY FOR SIXYEARS.

AND YOU KNOW, THIS HURTS ALITTLE BIT.

AND WE'RE TEXTING EACH OTHER.

I HOPE WE GET A CHANCE TO SAYGOOD-BYE, AND IT LOOKS LIKE WE WON'T.

>> James: ALSO THERE IS ONETHINGS, JOBS END AND YOU SAY GOOD-BYE BUT THIS HAS BEEN SUCHA MONUMENTAL MOMENTS IN YOUR LIFE, I MEAN I FEEL LIKE MORETHAN ANY OTHER SHOW EMPIRE CAME OUT AND WAS AN IMMEDIATELY INTHE ZEIT GIET, PEOPLE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT IT ALL THE TIMEAND PARTICULARLY TALKING ABOUT COOKIE.

WHAT IS IT, WHAT IS IT ABOUT HERAND THAT CHARACTER THAT YOU THINK JUST MADE ITS WORLD WANTTO TALK ABOUT HER.

AND THEN SUBSEQUENTLY TALK BUT, YOU KNOW? >> YOU KNOW WHAT, CUZ COOKIELIVES THE TRUTH.

HER TRUTH.

SHE WASN'T AFRAID.

SHE WAS UNWAVERING.

SHE WAS THE MORAL COMPASS.

SHE SAID THINGS THAT PEOPLEWISHED THEY COULD SAY, YOU KNOW.

AND I MEAN, I THINK IF SHETAUGHT US ANYTHING T WAS THE TRUTH AND NOT BACK DOWN FROM THETRUTH, THE UNAPOLOGETICALLY WHO YOU ARE.

AND THIS IS COMING FROM A WOMANWHO WAS A HERO BUT SHE WAS VERY CLEAR ON WHY SHE WENT TOJAIVMENT HE IS A LIVING WALKING TRUTH, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, LIKEIT OR NOT BUT SHE IS OKAY BECAUSE IT IS HER TRUTH.

AND I THINK IF WE ALL DID THAT, WE WOULD LIVE A LITTLE LESS FREE BECAUSE THE STRESS AND ANXIETYCOMES FROM THINGS THAT YOU ARE AFRAID TO SAY AND DO THAT ISWHEN ANXIETY CREEPS IN, BUT IF YOU JUST LIVE AS BOLDLY IN YOURTRUTH AND PLANTED YOUR FEET IN THE GROUND AND SAY THIS SHOW IFEEL TODAY, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

YOU KNOW, MY DAD LIVED LIKETHAT.

HE WASN'T STRESSFREE BUT HEDIDN'T GO TO SLEEP WORRYING ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS.

I MEAN FINANCIALLY IS DIFFERENTBUT YOU KNOW, HIS CONSCIENCE IS CLEAN BECAUSE WHATEVER HE HAD TOSAY, HE WOULD SAY T YOU KNOW.

>> James: I THINK, I THINK ANDI'M NOT SURE THE MANY PEOPLE KNOW COMPLETELY THE JOURNEY THATYOU TOOK TO GET TO THIS PLACE IN YOUR KA REEMPLET YOU KNOW, YOUCAME TO L.

A.

, I THINK IT WAS IN THE '90S.

YOU WERE A SINGLE MOTHER.

YOU TRAVELED ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

TO GO TO L.

A.

STO TRY AND LIVEYOUR DREAM.

WHAT WAS THAT TRIP LIKE AND HOWDOES IT INFORM YOUR LIFE NOW TODAY.

>> WELL, I THINK I WAS THE ONLYONE THAT KNEW I WASN'T GOING BACK.

MY MOM WAS LIKE OH, SHE'S GOINGTO GO AND COME BACK.

WHEN I PACKED MY BAGS I WAS LIKEPEACE OUT.

I NEVER LOOKED BACK.

I KNEW I WAS GOFNLT I JUST KNEWTHAT HAVING A CHILD SO YOUNG ESPECIALLY A BOY, IF I DON'TLIVE OUT MY DREAM F I'M NOT OLD ENOUGH TO TACKLE AND GO AFTERTHEM, I AM GOING TO SEE, SO IF I COULD JUST, IF I CAN LOOK INTOMY KID'S EYES AND SAY YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, AND I HAVE, HE IS NOTGOING BELIEVE YOU, RIGHT.

SO YOU KNOW, I GUESS WHAT ITTAUGHT ME IS THAT FACE YOUR FEARS BECAUSE LITERALLY I WILL ATODDLER HE WAS ONE, I HAD $700 IN MY POCKET AND I HAD A WHOLELOT OF FAITH AND HI TALENT.

SO I HAD ALL THESE– I WENT TOSCHOOL, I DID MY BIT, I GOT MY DEGREE, I TRAINED ALL I COULDTRAIN.

SO NOW I GOT TO GO PUT IT TOWORK.

AND I JUST KNEW I HAD A GREAT SUPPORT SYSTEM, ATESTIMONY TEAM AROUND ME THAT WHENEVER I WANTED TO QUIT, HEWHAT BE LIKE NO TARAJI, YOU HAVE COME TOO FAR TO TURN BACK NOW.

SO WHEN PEOPLE ARE SOWING GOODSEEDS INTO YOU AND YOU KNOW YOU HAVE DONE ALL THE WORK, FEAR ISNOTHING.

FEAR CAN CRIPPLE YOU, AND SOTHAT WHAT I LEARNED.

YOU HAVE TO FACE THE FEAR ANDTHEY CANNOT COEXIST.

>> James: AND THANK GOD YOUDID.

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