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‘Stop Playing with Cookie Like She Ain’t Run “Empire”’: Fans React to Video of Taraji P. Henson Singing

We all knew Taraji P. Henson could sing. But we had no idea she could hang with soul queens like Jennifer Hudson and Mary J. Blige.

On Tuesday, March 1, Taraji shared a video flexing her vocals chops alongside celebrity vocal coach Steve Mackey.

Taraji Henson. (Photo: @tarajiphenson/Instagram)

Taraji shocked herself and viewers watching the video shared initially on Mackey’s TikTok. Fans in the comments were enamored by how she sang in such a high octave.

“Shocked me too. I watched it like 10 times. You go girl.”

“Ahkayyyyy!!! Given J-HUD vibes!”

“The aunties is out-singing these young girls. Taraji needs to join MJB on her next performance.”

“Nah she ain’t even know she had that in her.”

Taraji’s soulful vocals also impressed Ledisi, Tamar Braxton, and “Superwoman” singer Lil’ Mo. Her performance also made fans revisit some of her most notable roles and her forthcoming gigs.

One mentioned her lead role on Fox’s hit television series, writing, “Stop playing with Cookie like she ain’t run ‘Empire.'”

Chance the Rapper and many others brought up Taraji’s role as “Shug” in the 2005 film “Hustle & Flow.” He said, “You made the same face after you recorded that hook off ‘Hustle & Flow.'”

In the film, Taraji recorded the hook on the song “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp” to help her rapper boyfriend/pimp, Djay, portrayed by Terrence Howard. Fans flooded Taraji’s comments quoting lyrics from the song, which earned Three Six Mafia an Academy Award for Best Original Song. One wrote, “You know it’s hard out here for a pimp.”

Fans continued showering the 52-year-old actor with flowers for her many roles, including as Miss Hannigan in NBC’s “Annie Live!” special that aired in December. One person wrote, “After her Broadway performance of Annie, I’m not surprised.”

The Howard University alumna revealed the source of her vocal range.

“Stevie Mackey unlocked some vocals I haven’t used since I was doing musicals in college at @howard1876,” she wrote in the caption with the hashtags #Iwasshookath #TheColorPurpleMovie to promote her next role.

“Y’all are not ready!!” added Henson in reference to her role as Shug Avery in the musical remake of “The Color Purple Musical.” Based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel, the original film premiered in 1985 and also starred Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey will produce the film, which will be released in December 2023.

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