Tag Archives: Taraji P. Henson

Hollywood Movie Star Wows Tennessee State University Students on Faith, Success During Packed Ceremony

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – To a standing-room only crowd in Kean Hall on Tuesday, a top Hollywood actress wowed Tennessee State University students with a message of faith, hard work, belief in oneself and not allowing fear to keep them away from achieving their dreams.

Taraji P. Henson, an Academy Award nominee and multiple award-winning actress and stage performer, told students to be focused, find their passion and have faith in God to help them develop their given talent to the fullest.

“God didn’t give me more than he gave you,” said Henson, who credits her “strong belief” in God, and her parents for her success. “I never gave up even though other told me I wouldn’t make it. I saw the bigger picture and I went after it. Find your bigger picture and believe in yourself, that’s what successful people believe in.”

TSUCrowd
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, administrators and friends of Tennessee State University packed Kean Hall Tuesday to hear Hollywood movie star Taraji P. Henson give a passionate and emotional lecture about the path to success. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Earlier,  the actress received a rousing welcome and shouts of “I love you,” as TSU President Glenda Glover presented her to the audience.

Henson, star of Lee Daniel’s major hit musical drama Empire as Cookie Lyon, and recipient of the 2015 NAACP Image Award as Entertainer of the Year, spoke about her early start as an engineering major at North Carolina A&T University, where she failed pre-calculus.

Tennessee State University students greeted Academy Award nominated actress Taraji P. Henson with an enthusiastic welcome during her recent visit to the campus
Tennessee State University students greeted Academy Award nominated actress Taraji P. Henson with an enthusiastic welcome during her recent visit to the campus

“I knew from the start that that (engineering) was not my passion, but at my parents’ and my best friend’s urging, I went in an area I knew I was not cut out for,” Henson said. “Somewhere inside me I knew theater was where I belonged.”

Henson transferred to Howard University where she studied theater. At the same time, Henson was working two jobs—one as a secretary at the Pentagon and another as a cruise-ship entertainer. At Howard, she honed her singing, dancing and acting skills, proudly earning herself a “Triple Threat Scholarship.”

“I followed my dream and went after the big picture, and that’s the beauty of an HBCU; they let you be what you want to be,” added Henson, as she reminded students about what she called the “added benefit” of attending an HBCU.

“At age 26 when I decided to go to Hollywood, they said I was too old. People will say all sorts of things about what you can or cannot do, but you have to be determined to go after your dream. Don’t let fear hold you back. if I had let fear hold me back you probably wouldn’t see me here before you.”

Henson, the single mother of a son, has lit up the big screen in numerous films, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008 in which she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in From the Rough (2014) portraying former TSU golf coach, Dr. Catana Starks, the first woman coach to win a NCAA Championship. Henson is a 2011 Emmy nominee for Best Actress in a movie or miniseries for Lifetime’s Taken From Me, and also starred as Detective Joss Carter in the highly rated J. J. Abrams CBS crime drama, Person of Interest.

Tonight, she will share her message of encouragement as the guest speaker, when Tennessee State University recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of women in our community at the Women of Legend and Merit Awards.

 

PHOTO Album Kean Hall

PHOTO album WOLM

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Taraji P. Henson to Share HBCU Experience with Students, Community March 24

Taraji P. Henson PhotoNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson will visit the Tennessee State University campus, Tuesday, March 24 to speak to students, faculty, staff and the community about the HBCU experience and how the HBCU journey shaped her life and prepared her for her future acting career.

Henson showed her love for the performing arts while still at a young age and tried unsuccessfully to apply to a performing arts high school. Instead she attended Oxon High School, graduating in 1988.

She spent her first year in college studying electrical engineering at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. After failing pre-calculus, Henson transferred to Howard University, where she studied theater. At the same time, Henson was working two jobs—one as a secretary at the Pentagon and another as a cruise-ship entertainer. At Howard, she honed her singing, dancing and acting skills, proudly earning herself a “Triple Threat Scholarship.”

Henson is one of many celebrities who attended an HBCU who are now discussing the importance of Historically Black Universities and Colleges. Celebrities who have attended HBCUs include filmmaker Will Packer, who attended Florida A&M University, R&B singer Erykah Badu, who attended Grambling University, Hip-Hop performer Common, who attended Florida A&M, and Oprah Winfrey, who graduated from Tennessee State University.

Henson will address the student body and community in Kean Hall beginning at 1 p.m. followed by a master-level class in the Forum beginning at 2 p.m.

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Oscar-nominated Actress Taraji P. Henson to headline Women of Legend and Merit Awards at Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University Honors Women During Annual Celebration on March 24th

  

Taraji P. Henson PhotoNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Women of Legend and Merit Awards will honor women leaders on Tuesday, March 24, 7 p.m. at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson will serve as the keynote speaker for the evening.

“Tennessee State University is proud to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of women in our community, and the Women of Legend and Merit Awards presents a perfect opportunity for us to highlight the achievements so many have made in advancing our community and nation,” said Dr. Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University. “These women have lived lives of inspiration, courage and sacrifice. It is our privilege to share their stories and achievements.”

Henson, who currently stars in Lee Daniel’s major hit musical drama Empire as Cookie Lyon, and is the recipient of the 2015 NAACP Image Award as Entertainer of the Year, will share her message of encouragement with attendees during the program. She has lit up the big screen in numerous films, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008 in which she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in From the Rough (2014) portraying former TSU golf coach, Dr. Catana Starks, the first woman coach to win a NCAA Championship. Henson is a 2011 Emmy nominee for Best Actress in a movie or miniseries for Lifetime’s Taken From Me, and also starred as Detective Joss Carter in the highly rated J. J. Abrams CBS crime drama, Person of Interest.

“We are certainly looking forward to hearing from the dynamic Taraji P. Henson, and paying tribute to some very dynamic and inspiring women,” said Peggy Earnest, TSU dean of students and chairman for the event. “Many of them have made inroads which have opened doors of opportunity for younger women to meet today’s challenges and fulfill their own promise of a brighter future. We are excited about saluting this new class of honorees.”

The Women of Legend and Merit Awards is an annual celebration saluting dynamic women leaders in business and the community in a variety of fields. The first event was held in 2007 and is designed to bring awareness and raise funds in support of the TSU Women’s Center, and seeks to expose the university’s female student population to positive role models, networking opportunities and resources to assist in their academic, personal and professional growth as women.

This year’s honorees include:

  • Barbara Landers Bowles (Leadership), vice chairman, Investor Resources Group;
  • Sharon Kay (Media), general manager, WFSK-FM 88.1, Fisk University;
  • Mercedes C. Maynor-Faulcon (Legal), assistant U.S. attorney, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice;
  • Sherri Neal (Business), vice president, Cultural Development and Inclusion, HCA;
  • Phyllis Qualls-Brooks (Government), executive director, Tennessee Economic Council on Women;
  • Renato Soto (Community Service), co-founder and executive director, Conexion Americas;
  • Wendy Thompson (Education), vice chancellor, Office of Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives, Tennessee Board of Regents; and,
  • Renita J. Weems (Religion), vice president, American Baptist College.

Tickets to the event are $100 per person and may be purchased online at http://www.tnstate.edu/womenscenter/legend.aspx or by calling (615) 963-5481.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University and trailblazing golf coach celebrated in ‘From the Rough’ hitting theaters April 25

OFFICIAL MOVIE TRAILER |  FOCUS ON POTENTIAL CLIP |  PHOTOS

Blog_From-The-Rough-FINAL-HI-REZ-ART

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and former golf coach Dr. Catana Starks will take over the big screen when From the Rough opens nationwide on Friday, April 25.

The film highlights the powerful story of Coach Starks as the first female golf coach of a Division I men’s team while at Tennessee State University. Through grit and determination, she overcame incredible odds to guide a group of golfers to a championship season.

“This is an amazing story about an amazing woman, and the entire Tennessee State University family is so proud of her,” said University President Glenda Glover. “Equally important is the fact that the HBCU experience is being shared with a broader audience.”

Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson will portray a fictionalized version of Coach Starks named Cassandra Turner. The character parlays a successful stint as coach of a women’s swim team at a historically black university into a shot at building the men’s golf team. With the availability of black players scarce, Turner scours Europe, Australia and Asia for hidden talent and constructs a uniquely multi-racial team.

According to Starks, the production of the film has been in the making for years.

“I was really pleased and I thought it was a great idea,” Starks said. “I am a shy person; I don’t even like taking pictures, but I think it’s good to have a female being honored in this way.”

When Tennessee State University joined the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference in 1986, then-Athletic Director Bill Thomas traded the University’s swimming program for a men’s golf team and called on the leadership of Starks to guide the program. Starks then made history becoming the only African-American female in the nation to coach a men’s golf team.

Starks has coached a diverse group of players throughout her career, including Canadian Sean Foley, who is currently Tigers Woods’ swing coach.

Foley believes Starks had a big impact on his life, as stated in an ESPN article.

“Coach Starks has a Ph.D.,” Foley said. “She’s well-educated… I used to sit in the front of the bus with Coach. We would ride for hours and hours. She always saw something in me. She always knew I was going to do special things in some form. She didn’t know what I was going to be.

“As I got little older, I looked back on Coach. She was so impressive. I should have spent more time trying to figure out how she did it all. To see what Coach accomplished, and became as a professor at the university, and all that stuff is really something.”

Starks, who retired in 2011 as head of TSU’s Department of Human Performance and Sports Sciences, guided the team to a Division I record win for the National Minority Championship. Under her guidance, the team also produced the first African-American men’s head coach for Michigan State University (Sam Puryear) and an All-American, who is a member of the European Tour (Robert Dinwiddie).

“Hopefully this will draw more African-American females into coaching on the collegiate level and coaching the opposite sex,” Starks said. “Men have been doing it for many years and I think there are a lot of great women out there who probably could do a much better job than I have done. I hope this film inspires other women to try their hand at coaching.”

President Glover agreed, adding that that Starks’ story is one of perseverance, hard work, faith and excellence. She also acknowledges that this is just one of many remarkable stories to emerge from TSU.

“This is a great opportunity for TSU to publicly acknowledge another chapter of our institution’s storied and proud past,” she said. “Today, we soar to new heights as our students, faculty and alumni continue to accomplish great things in academics and athletics.”

TSU will make it a From the Rough weekend providing transportation for students to see the movie in local theaters. The school has also encouraged alumni across the country to support the film.

“Dr. Starks’ contributions to Tennessee State University as an alumna, faculty member and coach are nothing short of incredible,” said Cassandra Griggs, director of TSU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “These extraordinary stories play out every day among our university community, and we are so thankful of all that Dr. Starks has given to this university. I know our alumni nationwide join us in our excitement and look forward to supporting this film highlighting yet another dynamic TSU success.”

The movie From the Rough opens nationwide in theaters April 25. See the attached list of current markets, and check local listings for show times in your area.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.