She admitted that when director Lee Daniels first offered her the part, she refused. “I was like, 'This is stupid. Hip-hop — dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.'”
At first, Henson wasn’t able to fully understand who Cookie was, but when she did, she wanted the role. “I started to think, Cookie is going to piss so many people off! She hits her son with a broom; she talks back. Clearly, this was a challenge.”
[Photo Credit: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott for W Magazine ]
The role of Cookie hasn’t been an easy one for Henson, who has received criticism from the black community for taking such a role, however, she doesn't regret it.
“When I hear that Cookie is a bad representation of black women, I don’t get involved. Maybe Cookie makes you uncomfortable because she reminds you of yourself. People miss the bigger picture when they start judging.”
Henson realized she had something in common with the character. “Cookie is bold and crazy, and she loves the struggle. She started from nothing, and now she’s at the top. In that way, we’re alike: Cookie is the American Dream.”
To learn more about Taraji and how she got to Cookie, pick up W’s August issue.