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taraji p. henson

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Taraji P. Henson has locked in a major guest role on Abbott Elementary. Variety first reported that Henson will appear on the show as Janine’s mother, Vanetta.

The episode “Mom,” airs April 12 at 9 p.m., ET on ABC. It is the second to last episode of season 2, with the season finale airing the following week.

This season, Janine (Quinta Brunson) has interacted with more family members than in the show’s first season. Her sister, Ayesha (Ayo Edebiri), was seen for the first time in an earlier episode.

Henson’s casting was announced at the Paley Center for Media’s annual PaleyFest LA event. Abbott Elementary stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Williams, Lisa Ann Walter and William Stanford Davis appeared on the panel in person.

Janelle James and Chris Perfetti dialed in virtually from New York, where Brunson also was; she sent in a pre-taped message as she was hosting Saturday Night Live the same night as the panel.

In “Mom,” Janine is planning to go away by herself for the Memorial Day holiday weekend until her mother shows up looking for assistance.

Taraji P. Henson was an Oscar nominee for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2009. Since then, she’s best known as Cookie Lyon, the fierce matriarch on the Fox series Empire which ended in 2020. In that role, Henson was a three-time Emmy nominee.