Taraji portrays the ex-wife and former business partner of music superstar Lucious Lyon in the hip-hop-centered drama heralded as TV’s “Black Dynasty.”
After serving 17 years in prison for drug dealing, Cookie returns home where she struggles to assert her place in the family’s music business and the family itself.
Check out photos from fabulous Gomillion & Leupold-photographed Uptown feature, as well as a few interview snippets below.
On being Cookie Lyon on Empire:
“I played a lot of characters that could’ve been borderline stereotypical women, but my job as an actress is to make the audience understand and empathize with the people. Cookie is a lot,” she says. “She wears me out but I know this woman. I’ve done my research inside and out. I took Cookie from Lee and made her my own.”
On the variety of black women in lead roles on TV:
“It feels good that there’s not just one black person. I don’t like that we get fixated on one or two at a time, or three at a time. If you look at Caucasian Hollywood, every year there’s a handful of new faces you’ve never seen before, then after that, they got five movies coming out and they’re introducing you to more talent. So I’m just so happy to see what’s happening on television right now. We have options and that’s how it should be.”
On her 20-year-old son’s unnecessary run-ins with cops:
“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.”