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Taraji P. Henson has a message for those critics who are dogging out her uber-addictive series, Empire: Thanks. Now we all know most people wouldn’t give someone hating on you and what you’re doing another thought (but possibly a good read) so why is Taraji even entertaining the idea? The actress chopped it up in the latest edition of Uptown magazine where she addressed the negative feedback some have given on the hit Fox series. While Lee Daniels insists the show is a tool to help many in the black community address homosexuality and shed a light on situations family members face, some have criticized the show’s portrayals of blacks and gays.

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In the magazine’s Feb/March issue, Taraji scoffs at the backlash and is all for the open dialogue the show is giving. Taraji stated:

I’m just proud that people are talking. Everybody don’t like Barack Obama,” she says, referencing the second episode of the season where her on-screen son, Hakeem (Gray) slams the POTUS, calling him a sellout. “People are out there saying that. That’s what art is supposed to do: expose this shit. You know, we’re dealing with subject matter that’s not really dealt with. Art is supposed to challenge, start a conversation, so let’s lift the carpet up and deal with this dirt. It’s not like we bashed Barack Obama and the show went off. No, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) jumped in his [son’s] ass. That’s real life stuff. So I’m glad you’re mad. Do something about it. Go in the hood and talk to the kids so they don’t do dumb stuff like that.

The gang over at Empire’s doing something right to get people not only talking but watching. Since the show’s first episode, it keeps climbing up in the ratings and also shattered a 23-year-old record for being the only primetime scripted series to grow in total viewers since 1991. While Taraji and her co-stars are reaping the rewards for Empire’s success, she spoke frankly about racial profiling in America and how it has affected her. Taraji opened up on how her son Marcel, was unjustly profiled while in a suburb in Los Angeles, resulting in her deciding to have him attend Howard University, which is also her alma mater.

My child has been racially profiled. He was in Glendale, California and did exactly everything the cops told him to do, including letting them illegally search his car. It was bogus because they didn’t give him the ticket for what he was pulled over for. Then he’s at University of Southern California, the school that I was going to transfer him to, when police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets. So guess where he’s going? Howard University. I’m not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus.

Ain’t mad at her with that.


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Shut Up Dora: Taraji P. Henson Fires Back At Critics Slamming ‘Empire’  was originally published on