After riding the successful launch of Empire, everyone has a sweet tooth for Taraji P. Henson. Teaming up with producer and Empire co-creator Danny Strong, the multi-talented woman of the moment is gearing up to make a return to the big screen. She will star in an adaptation of the book, The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South. The Best of Enemies tells the story of the contentious battles and later friendship between Ann Atwater and C.P Ellis.
Henson will play Atwater, a single Black mother who quits her job as a maid and serves as a civil rights activist in Durham, North Carolina. Ellis was an Exalted Cyclops in the Ku Klux Klan. The two battled for over a decade until 1971, when the court-ordered desegregation of public schools forced them to become allies. With Durham thrown into chaos, Atwater and Ellis became reluctant co-heads on a community program to help reach a compromise. The Best of Enemies may seem familiar; there have been a lot of race-driven films coming out as of late. The unique quality that separates this story from others is viewing the civil rights movement from both sides.
While it’s always good to have a conversation on race, it’s even better to know why the conversation even exists. In the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, the United States Supreme Court upheld the legality of “separate but equal.” This decision set the gears in motion for the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement was multi-faceted; right or wrong, there were two sides, and some fascinating stories on both. It’s said that history is written by the victor, but it is always healthy to look back and view history from another vantage point.
Though everyone wants a piece of Cookie, Henson has always been a reliable actress with good taste in choosing projects. The Best of Enemies represents another quality offering from Henson, though everyone is waiting in anticipation for Empire’s second season premiere in September. The Best of Enemies is scheduled to start filming at the beginning of 2016.