Title: Around the Way Girl
Author: Taraji P. Henson
Genre: Memoir, inspirational
Published: 11th October 2016
My rating on GR: 4/5
“Art can turn hearts of stone into pulsing mounds of mush. It can turn a raving racist into an empathetic person with the capacity to reach across divides. It can help a grieving daughter lean into a tremendous loss, and in the process, create magic. Art uncovers the truth.”
An Electrical Engineer! Daughter of the Mandingo warrior. I am going to give credit to this Vietnam vet and artistic at heart man an applaud. Were it not for his real, raw, inappropriate and honest opinions while raising his daughter, we wouldn’t be out here trying to imitate “Cookie.” She gave up drama after trying to enroll at Duke Ellington School of the Arts and this shook her to the extent of trying to be a circle in a square peg with engineering. She failed miserably at math and Mr. Henson was there to tell her to follow her dreams. So good was he despite his drinking, domestic violence towards Tajari’s mom that she has poured out her love in this memoir for him even after his death.
Tajari explores her way through hardships when growing up in the hood, trying her way through plays and getting into Hollywood. In here she gives credit where due thanking everyone who held her, who went out their way to bring the glory. As a single mother of one-Marcell, she loved her first love Mark despite his first and last abuse that so them part ways. What I love about her book is that although she was hurt by several persons, she thanks them for in one way or the other they shone light. She forgives wholeheartedly, laughs harder, loves big and gives generously.
For the young ins trying their way into acting I feel this is the real deal. This is the ‘how-to-get-in-there’ recipe. The dos and don’ts. The trials and temptations. The winning and going further to secure the fattest of checks. “It is about understanding and working the spaces and angles between what is obvious to everyone else, and using those quiet moments to stand out. To win. That is the hallmark of a true hustler.” She brings together black women she has admired and also advocates for equal pay in the industry that has for a long time seen women inferior to their male counterparts.
Executive directing seems to be the way for her after been on screen. More so she is open to many possibilities like dating. She is not done yet if fates allow it. Colorful photos of Taraji in her youthful days at the end of the book are so breathtaking and all I’ll say is that she hasn’t changed. Still youthful, dramatic, beautiful, bubbly and forging on strong.
Ps: Her middle name Penda is Swahili in my national language meaning Love. And we surely love her! We can’t get enough of her acting on Empire.