As Cookie Lyon, Taraji P. Henson would solve problems with her wits — and sometimes her fists — but now, the Empire actress is taking a more cerebral approach to problems in life. She’s hosting a new Facebook show titled Peace of Mind with Taraji.
Empire Star Taraji P. Henson – Mental Health Champion
The program will center on mental wellness and be co-hosted by Henson’s longtime best friend, Jade Jenkins. The series is set to begin later this year, reports Entertainment Weekly.
Watch for the program to shine a light on today’s challenging mental health issues that are affecting people, “particularly of those in the Black community,” read the show’s press release. Episodes will spotlight a particular topic and feature interviews with mental health experts, celebrities, and everyday folks to “provide support, bring awareness, and help eliminate the stigmas of mental health issues. ”
“I’ve long been a mental health advocate for the Black community and created the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 that has provided resources to thousands of people who are struggling,” said Henson in a statement. “I’m looking forward to bringing this new talk series to Facebook Watch, where I can continue to create conversation around an issue that is near and dear to my heart.”
Henson has a personal connection to mental health. Her father suffered with mental health issues due to his experience in the Vietnam War. In 2018, she began her nonprofit organization, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, whose vision is to “eradicate the stigma around mental health issues in the African-American community.”
A statement on the foundation’s site reads: “We are committed to changing the perception of mental illness in the African-American community by encouraging those who suffer with this debilitating illness to get the help they need. One in five Americans suffer from mental illness. African-Americans are the least likely population to seek treatment.
“We were taught to hold our problems close to the vest out of fear of being labeled and further demonized as inept, weak, and/or inadequate. African-Americans also have a history of being misdiagnosed, so there is mistrust associated with therapy.”
Viewers may not have seen the last of Cookie. There are reports that Empire producers may re-assemble the show’s creative team to shoot the finale they had intended to do before concerns about COVID-19 shut down production and the final season was abbreviated.