Taraji P. Henson plans to bring mental health resources to HBCUs

Taraji P. Henson is a proud graduate of Howard University. She has spoken to her alma mater numerous times and the school recently announced that the famous actress will deliver the 2022 commencement address for graduates in May.

via: Le Grio

Next month, the Biden White House Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will be sworn in. The 20-person board currently includes HBCU presidents and alumni, executives, HBCU student, NBA All-Star Chris Paul — and award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson.

TheGrio caught up with Henson exclusively while the soon-to-be-sworn board member was in Atlanta, Georgia, filming the adaptation of The Color Purple. The 51-year-old Washington, DC native and Howard University graduate stars as Shug Avery.

Henson said it was an “honor” to be asked to serve on the prestigious board and that she takes her latest role seriously because she understands the value and needs of HBCUs better than anyone. Henson, who became pregnant with her son during her freshman year at Howard, graduated from college in 1995 with a degree in theater arts.

“I think because they see that I’m a product of an HBCU and my activism in the community, I guess that combination looked like someone who would want to be on the board, and I’m HBCU from the heart,” said the actress, who has starred in films like Baby Boy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hustle and Flow and the popular Empire series.

Henson’s activism will be important in her work on the White House Advisory Board on HBCUs, she told the Grio. “I want to bring student voices to the table…I’m here as a liaison,” she said.

Henson referenced protests last year on his alma mater’s campus, where students boycotted classes and demanded better living conditions in dorms, among other campus grievances. “The interview was horrible,” Henson said.

Eventually the protests ended and the university came to an agreement with the student activists and their legal representation.

Student protesters have also called for a vote of no confidence in Howard University President Dr Wayne A.I. Frederick, who announced last week that he would retire and leave office in 2024.

In a statement provided to the Grio, President Frederick expressed support for Henson’s nomination. “As an alumnus of Howard University, her intimate knowledge of the HBCU experience will allow her to bring a unique and relevant perspective to the advisory board at an important time in our country’s history,” he said. -he declares.

Henson said it’s important to her to use her stardom and role on the board to do more for HBCUs than just “retweeting” posts on Instagram. “I’m now in a position where I can tap my shoulders,” she said. She noted that the Biden-Harris administration has already provided $5.8 billion to HBCUs since January 2021 in federal US bailout grants and investments and more.

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