Golden Globe winner Taraji P. Henson is best known for playing the sassy and brassy Cookie Lyon on Fox’s Empire, but she’s channeled a less-well-known part of her life — her slow climb to the top — in a deeply personal memoir.
Around the Way Girl: A Memoir is a candid and brutally honest account of her life, she explained on Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts on Tuesday, because, “we need each other as humans. If my life experiences can help someone else in life, why not?”
She continued, “That’s what we’re here for as humans,” she said. We make the world go ‘round. We inspire each other as humans. I can’t even tell you how many stories I look at that keep inspiring me to get up every day and fighting the good fight.”
Henson said her fans were curious to learn more about her life as a single mom in college and moving to Los Angeles with only $700 in her pocket. “They had been reading about my interviews and they had seen me in my interviews, because, you know, I’ve always been candid, and so they’d be like, ‘Oh you had a son in college and you still graduated and you moved to L.A. with $700. How did you do it? You need to write a book. Your life is so inspirational,’” she recalled.
“And it’s like, God put me on the stage and he gave me the mic. What am I going to do? What am I going to do with this moment in life? How am I going to inspire other people? If people will be inspired by my story, little old me, then that’s my duty. That’s my duty as a human.”
After years in smaller movie and TV roles, Henson is now “reaping her harvest” as Empire‘s electric matriarch. “I worked,” she told ABC Radio’s GMA After Hours. “I worked my butt off. It wasn’t an overnight success for Taraji P. Henson,” the actress laughed.