Emmy-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson made an appearance on Kevin Hart‘s new show, Hart to Heart, to talk about the taboo nature of mental health in the Black community and her own personal struggles led her to create The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF), named after her late father.
“I started the foundation because when I was looking for a therapist for myself and my son it was hard,” she shared with Hart. “I called my best friend, who runs my foundation, Tracie Jenkins… Oh you never, you know you never made that donation? But we’ll get back to that,” she poked at the comedian. “So anyway, but I’m on your show and I do everything you ask me to do.”
Hart caught the hint and asked, “How much did I say I was going to give to you?”
Well, at least Henson was in a kind mood and didn’t ratchet up the price.
“Why would you ask? Better be glad I didn’t say a million ’cause I know you got it,” Henson answered. The pair joked some more about Hart’s potential seven-figure offer but agreed upon a worthwhile sum. “Taraji, whatever you need from me, you have,” Hart told her. “I will give you $100,000.”
Henson has consistently been forthcoming about her own experiences with mental health, especially as a Black woman, a single mother, and the daughter of a Vietnam veteran who battled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), manic depression, bipolar disorder after his tour.
In 2018, she spoke with Oprah Daily about a few of the conflicts the Black community faces when addressing mental health. “When you’re talking about mental illness,” she said, “you can’t pray the flu away or for a broken leg to be healed. I’m not saying prayer doesn’t work. The only way it’s going to change is if we acknowledge it exists. Once more people get more comfortable talking about it, we have to get these people to places where they can talk.”
Henson further expounded on the divide that exists between youth of color that need help and those to whom those youth are directed when they are struggling. “There’s a trust issue where we don’t often trust who is on the other side of the sofa,” Henson clarified. “Our children—Black kids—aren’t growing up wanting to study for a career in the mental health field because we don’t talk about it in our community. It’s all about experience. A lot of times, African-Americans are misdiagnosed because there’s a barrier and the misconception of anger. We don’t always need a pill to calm down our anger. We have a lot to be angry about. What we need for therapists to do is hear us.”
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