Taraji P. Henson, the multi-award-nominated actress whose talents can be seen across TV, film and theatre will be bringing her signature flair as the host of this year’s BET Awards for the second year in a row.
Last year, she brought the laughter and the looks by paying homage to different influential women in entertainment. But what will she bring to the stage this year? You’ll just have to tune in on Sunday to see.
With the 2022 BET Awards just days away, The Root recently got the chance to talk to the Emmy and Oscar-nominated actress about what we can expect from her at this year’s ceremony and she teases a little bit about her forthcoming projects, The Color Purple and Queenie.
The Root: You’ve been known to bring out all the stops when it comes to award shows. Especially when it comes to your fashion, outfit changes and paying tribute to various artists. What can we expect style-wise from you at this year’s awards?
Taraji P. Henson: “Well, I’m always looking to up the ante. I have Jason Rembrandt as my stylist this year. And, you know, glam is always—I just let them go. I have Saisha [Beecham] and Tym [Wallace] on hair and makeup this year and I just let them go. And they are excited. Apparently, I have nail changes this year! Tameka [Jackson] is doing my nails. So I have nail changes as well as wardrobe and hair and makeup. So there you have it. It is a lot but its fun. It’s exciting!”
TR: We know why BET picks up the phone and calls you for this award show year after year, but what does it say to you specifically about being invited back?
TPH: “I’m always honored. I like live theater, I really enjoy it. And I think they see that in me because I bring the ideas. I go, ‘I want to drop from the ceiling! I want to float in on a balloon!” But that’s because of the theater training and the background that I have and I think it’s just a great marriage when you talk about hosting a show. Because the host has a job to do, we open the show. So if we don’t grab the audience when we announce the show, then we lose the audience, you know? And that’s the job of the host—you have to keep the energy going in between all the acts.
“And I bring a lot. I bring a lot of ideas, I bring a lot of funny ‘cause I love doing skits. I grew up on variety shows so whenever I host I try to implement a little bit of that in there because I think we’re missing that now. I miss variety television.”
TR: That’s a good segue into my next question. We know you’re starring in the upcoming movie musical adaptation of The Color Purple. What can you tease to us about that?
TPH: “I just think you guys aren’t ready. This cast is magical. The mood, the direction is magical. The cinematography is mystical. It is so beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Black people look so beautiful in a time when it wasn’t particularly beautiful to Black people. And I just don’t think you’re ready to see the talent. I just know, speaking for myself, you guys aren’t ready to see me sing the way I’m singing. I haven’t done like Broadway-style singing since I was in college. I thought I missed the singing boat. Just goes to show what’s meant for you won’t miss you.”
TR: You’re always booked and busy, especially now that TPH Entertainment signed an overall deal with BET Studios. You already have a project in the works called Queenie, what can you tell us about that?
TPH: “I’m just excited to finally tell her story. I mean, we got Frank Lucas’ story, we got Bumpy Johnson’s story, but we don’t know where they come from. They come from Queenie, so I’m excited to get her story out there.”
The 2022 BET Awards goes down this Sunday, June 26, airing live from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at 8p.m.ET only on BET.