All We Do is Win: What We Can All Learn From Taraji P. Henson's Shining Sisterhood9/23/2015
by Diana Veiga Acclaimed author (and Black woman oracle) Toni Morrison once said that Black women are the original girlfriends. “Black wo...
by Diana Veiga
Acclaimed author (and Black woman oracle) Toni Morrison once said that Black women are the original girlfriends. “Black women have always been friends. I mean, if you didn’t have each other you had nothing,” Morrison said in a conversation with Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni for Essence.
Actress Taraji P. Henson proved this to be true at the Emmys on Sunday night when she expressed genuine enthusiasm for Regina King winning for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role in American Crime and Viola Davis’s win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in How to Get Away With Murder. Davis and Henson were nominated in that same category. However, as Davis walked down the aisle to receive her award, Henson jumped from her seat and gave Davis an enormous embrace and whispered words (one can assume of positivity) in her ear.
Today on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Henson said:
“I just thought to myself, ‘God, just please give it to one of us so we’ll never have to say that again.’ You know, let’s just break this barrier down and keep on pushing, you know? And I think the universe is happy. Um, Viola deserved that award, and honestly, I would’ve felt weird if I would’ve gotten it over her. You know what I mean? She’s been doing it longer. Like, you just gotta give respect and know when your time is.”Henson once sang, “You know it’s hard out here for a pimp.” But the reality is that it’s hard out here for Black actresses in Hollywood. Many Black actresses have publicly shared the agony of having to go up against each other (their friends) for the same few (and oftentimes lacking in substance) roles. It could be easy to become jealous and envious of those who are constantly landing roles (and getting paid).
This is especially true in an era of reality television where Black women are often shown to be catty, mean, and outright hateful toward one another. However, Henson’s display of support for her sisters was a way to help steer the ship back on course. Black women expressed delight all over social media as we watched Black women celebrate one another – out loud and in public.
Here are some lessons we can learn from Taraji P. Henson and how we can celebrate one another’s successes:
1. Cheer for Your Sister (Even If You’re the Only One)
2. Be a Safe Space for One Another
3. We Can All Shine
4. Your Turn to Win is Coming
Henson’s glee for her fellow sisters demonstrated the importance of Black women continuing to be each other’s support system, cheerleaders, and girlfriends. Morrison was right, if Black women don’t have each other we have nothing. And if we don’t support each other’s wins then who will?
Photo: Lester Cohen/Wireimage
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.