Written by Adam S. Levy for Dailymail.com
06:59 27 December 2023, updated 09:00 27 December 2023
Taraji P. Henson says the best business decision she made was letting go of her management team after they failed to secure enough follow-up projects for her hit series Empire.
The 53-year-old actress spoke about the career transition earlier this month when she appeared at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations Career Retrospective event at the foundation's Los Angeles screening room.
Washington D.C. citizen speaks with miscellaneous Angelique Jackson said on December 5 that “everyone had to go” after she faced a lull in her career after spending six seasons as Cookie Lyonne on the Fox musical drama from 2015-2020.
The Oscar-nominated actress earned a Golden Globe and a pair of Emmy nominations for playing the role in the show opposite Terrence Howard.
The Color Purple star – who recently opened up about her thoughts on being underpaid – said her team “didn't have anything ready” following the success of Empire, adding: “That's why you all haven't seen me for so long.”
Since Empire ended in 2020 — when the coronavirus pandemic shut down the entertainment industry for an extended period of time — Henson has worked on a handful of projects.
They include voice roles in 2023's PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie and 2022's Minions: The Rise of Gru, as well as an appearance in Offset & Cardi B's video for Jealousy.
She appeared in the 2021 TV movie Annie Live! And on an episode of Abbott Elementary earlier this year.
She said “firing everyone after Cookie” was the only move after her team couldn't think outside the world of Empire for its next project, Variety reported.
Henson said she asked her team, “Where's my deal?” Where is my commercial? The cookie was at the top of the fashion game. Where is my support? What have you prepared after this?
Henson said all her team was focused on was “another cookie-cutter show,” with Fox ultimately turning down a potential pitch about the character, according to the outlet.
“All they wanted was another cookie show, so I said, 'I'll do it, but it has to be right — people deserve… She's so loved that you can't screw her up,'” she said. “And so, when they didn't get it right… I said, “Okay, that's it,” and they didn't have anything else… “You're all fired.”
Henson, who was also seen in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Hidden Figures, said it took her “years” to get to a place where she felt it was necessary to sever long-standing business relationships.
“I stayed with the same team for years,” Henson said.
She said the main lesson learned by actors is that sometimes, it is necessary to change management if they do not fulfill their commitments.
“You are the prize; “Never forget that,” Henson said. 'You are talent. You choose them. Don't forget all that. They work for you. If they're not…someone else will.
Henson is currently experiencing a career resurgence playing Shug Avery in The Color Purple, which is in theaters now.
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