Taraji P. Henson Bemoans Being Excluded From "Person Of Interest" Coverage

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 21, 2011 1:57 AM
74 Comments
  • |

WOW!!!! TV Guide is NOT including me on the cover with my cast memebers........I am the female lead of a 3 member cast and I'm not included on the cover!!!!!! Do you see the shit I have to deal with in this business.....I cram to understand!!!!

Words from Ms Taraji P. Henson posted on her Facebook fanpage yesterday. She's talking about the upcoming new CBS drama series Person Of Interest, created by wunderkind producer/director J.J. Abrams, starring James Caviezel, Michael Emerson's, and of course Taraji.

Initially I was going to just ignore this and not post; but I couldn't resist :)

Those who've been following our coverage of Person Of Interest since CBS began distributing marketing materials for it a few months ago, when networks started to unveil their new season lineups, will know that I've repeatedly wondered why Taraji's image has been quite noticeably absent, even though, as she notes, she's the lead female character (starring as a police detective) in the series cast of 3.

Except for 1 image in which she's included, she's been absent from just about everything else - maybe most importantly, the several trailers and video clips that have been been released for the series. She's not in any of them. If anyone has seen any clips that she's featured in, let me know, because I haven't.

The implication here is that her role in this isn't as important as we think; though she's the lead female character, and her past comments about how involved she is, suggest otherwise. Not that I'm implying that there's some kind of conspiracy against her here or anything like that, but I think CBS may not realize that even a quick glimpse of her at this point could actually help raise interest in the series, and attract an audience that may not at all be interested in watching, but might decide to tune in if only because they know Taraji co-stars in it.

On a number of occasions, folks have told me that they didn't even know she was in the series. For many watching these things, especially if they don't read sites like this, they likely wouldn't know. And while she may not be what the industry would call an "A"-lister (and let's face it, neither are the other 2 guys who are all over the trailers for this), featuring her in one or both of the previews, and the stills we've seen thus far, would draw some people who may not have paid any attention to this previously - specifically black folks who might otherwise not give a damn about this new series, but actually may mark it as a show to look out for in the fall, because they know Taraji P. Henson is in it!

She's got almost 700,000 followers on Tweeter, and over 3 million fans on Facebook! So, there's a fanbase there. Don't make them feel ignored CBS.

But all this to say to Taraji, if I were talking to her directly right now: look, I don't know if I'd come down on TV Guide for not including you on the cover with the other 2 leads. I'd instead look to CBS' marketing/PR department first, because they've been omitting you from their own marketing materials from day 1. All you need to do is go to CBS' website for Person Of Interest (HERE) and tell me what you see and don't see. I'd start there; not with TV guide.

Keep in mind that this is a series that premieres tomorrow night.

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74 Comments

  • Troller | January 19, 2013 10:22 AMReply

    I hate all these politically correct nonsense. TV and films are my escape from reality so I'd rather watch white people acting and entertain me. I'm minority btw.

  • MINA | October 19, 2011 7:09 AMReply

    Giselle said...Taraji should be glad they are featuring her ass in a show to begin with. You didn’t see the other white actresses of “The Help’ complain they weren’t featured as much as Viola and Emma Stone.
    Your comment is racist. White people have all the play in movies and TV, Blacks have to fight to get good parts in a show with good script. White writers want to make Blacks look like fools, nappy hair, black lipstick, greasy face and lips, anything to make them look ugly. But Taraji is GEORGEOUS, and I saw one episode and I was impressed. She was so beautiful and that is the problem. White woman dont' want our Black beauties on TV, in ADs, movies, and they raise hell until they disappear.

    Black women who are beautiful are constantly made to look ugly and men given stupid scripts or call stupid in shows/movies. It is still discrimination in media for Blacks. All good shows on TV with a Black lead has been cancelled this season. TV is segregating Blacks from the main stream TV and prime time TV. IT is consistent discrimination.
    WAKE UP EVERYONE, DISCRIMINATION IS STILL here, live and well.

  • giselle | September 24, 2011 2:48 AMReply

    Taraji is not the third lead in the show, she is a supporting character. Being the only woman in the show does not make you a lead character. Taraji should be glad they are featuring her ass in a show to begin with. You didn't see the other white actresses of "The Help' complain they weren't featured as much as Viola and Emma Stone. I didn't even know ACADEMY AWARD winner Sissy Spacek was in the film until I watched it. Just be happy you have a job Taraji.

  • Jug | September 23, 2011 4:53 AMReply

    And I'm west coast so BELIEVE I'm gonna be watching PERSON soon enuff! LMBAO

  • Jug | September 23, 2011 4:51 AMReply

    Misha, August is my #1 playwright. Hands down. Still doesn't change the fact that his women are not written as well as the men & his views on THE COSBY SHOW are ridiculous LOL (totally different conversation for another day).

    Their complexity and nuance is often brought out by the magnificent actresses' that play them. The men do depend on them, true indeed, but his strongest, most iconic & poetic female characters are Berniece, Rose & Aunt Ester. Risa is fun but not that complex, aside from the cutting.

    Sorry, couldn't resist talking about good ol' August! :-D

  • misha | September 23, 2011 4:28 AMReply

    @Jug Thanks for the clarification. :)

    Let me just say (and I should have made this distinction earlier) that an issue can be racial without being racist. Things like tokenism exist not necessarily because the powers that be are racist but rather, they're convinced that the racial attitudes of some (white) viewers are what matters most.

    Regarding the post you mentioned on John Legend's new show, I'm in agreement with you. I think it's premature (to say the least) to proclaim that it's just more "coonery."

    But uh, I think you have my Leo/Taraji comparison all messed up. LOL First, I'm not saying that Leo is "ugly" and thus, less marketable. I'm saying that she is older, not nearly as well known and doesn't have a sizable fanbase, which all translates into little to no face time during promos. Not saying at all that it's right but that's standard belief/practice in hollywood. And yes, Taraji may indeed be a working actress but she's a well-known, popular one. Big difference, I think.

    And may I add that I LOVE August Wilson. Read all 10 plays as an undergrad in college and wrote a paper examining male dependency in both Wilson and Zora Neale Hurton's work. Because you see, even though the women weren't considered to be strong (and I challenged that belief in my paper), the men totally depended on them for survival.

  • Jug | September 23, 2011 4:17 AMReply

    @Misha-True. But when I say stereotypical, I mean the women are written from a decidedly male viewpoint. They may not be stereotypes of mammie's or golddiggers or weak, but going the other extreme to uber-strong or highly sexualized ain't great either. What August does is he usually will have what can exist in one character split into two (Berniece/Grace, Mattie/Bertha, Ma Rainey/ Dussie Mae, Rena). They aren't poorly written characters, just they have one speed & against these amazingly conflicted & poetic men, you'd hope the women would be right there, toe to toe, instead of "the support group" for the men & their foolish/idealistc dreams in a White dominated world. But like I said, all of that is about what's "written", not necessarily what's acted or staged.

    Tolda ya, I luuuuuv me some August. Working it is even more fun than reading it.

  • Jug | September 23, 2011 2:58 AMReply

    But Misha, I will speak directly to two things you said. First, tokenism is real & has historical context, Yes. But if thats the flat answer for anytime theres a black person on screen, then as I said, why do any of it? On another post, folks are already calling a new show "coonery" because it has a hip-hop lead who meets his unknown white son. Might it be coonery? Yeah. But why think that off the bat when there is nothing in that description, with John Legend being attached, what we know of his public persona & his artistry to draw that conclusion? Citing history as the benchmark ain't always a good look.

    Second, yes Melissa Leo is a "working" actor. Most actors dream of that. But as Taraji, from her own mouth has said, so is she! And let's be honest, that happened with the Oscar nom, then she started to be looked at differently, and so she put money into making herself look more attractive, especially on film. Dress for the job you want not the job you got. So that to me is a really biased indictment of Leo being "forever ugly" & Taraji being "newly beautiful" so she should be on the cover. As YOU said, "not all Oscar winners/nominees are created equal".

    Not everybody does it that way & apparently the folks at TV Guide don't LOL

  • Jug | September 23, 2011 2:34 AMReply

    Not at all Misha. I read your posts and you're extremely logical, you exprss your views well, whether I agree or not. I was stating my opinion in a general sense vs trying to demean yours. No undercover snark or being coy. Apologies if it came off that way.

    Now as far as the sexism, I stand by that. Folks like Mamet & August Wilson don't create well rounded female characters. The few that are there are very cliched & stereotypical, they don't write from a femine perspective nor are they writing to a female audience. I only relate that to Nolan as he seems to be preoccupied with men & male characters. But it's a huge leap to say he's sexist, but the assumption can be made as to why Taraji isn't on the promos, a more than plausible reason.

    I'm quick to call racism, especially in Hollywood, but thru experience I've learned not everything is racist. Some things are just stupid business decisions. And, yes, some things are racist. I want more info, more qualitative information before I go Nuclear. Real talk it was most likely a studio/network decision.

    But if we say it's racism, who is racist? Is it CBS with Dennis Haysbert on THE UNIT, Grace Park on HAWAII 5-0, LL on NCIS:LA, Shemar Moore on CRIMINAL MINDS, the black folks on Y&R-all on the ads for their shows? Is it TV Guide, with Tia & Tamara & their reality show setting records & getting renewed? Is it Bad Robot, with LOST, FRINGE, SIX DEGREES & UNDERCOVERS? Who? Again, I'm not defending or excusing, I'm examining. It's why I cited Vanity Fair. No confusion about that because of the nature & description of the spread. But Taraji...I'm not sold...

    Yes, there's racism in Hollywood. But on most decisons, more than racism there's stupidity & that's where I hang my hat first. I'm of the TRAINING DAY mindset, " It's not what you know, it's what you can prove"...until it ain't. Then you go guns blazing!

  • misha | September 23, 2011 2:22 AMReply

    @BondGirl, I haven't watched yet but I really don't care if Taraji was only on for 30 seconds. She's a part of the cast and as I've said, the powers that be normally don't miss an opportunity to promote Emmy/Oscar-nominated actresses no matter how big or small the role is. But if she were on for 30 seconds, it sure does beg the question: why in the hell would JJ and co. want Taraji on the show and not utilize her talent properly?

  • BondGirl | September 23, 2011 2:01 AMReply

    I will respond to Jug & Misha's comments in a sec, but would just like to say that anyone who watched that show tonight and still thinks Taraji deserved more shine than she got is delusional. Seriously, gtfoh.

  • misha | September 23, 2011 1:28 AMReply

    Honestly Jug, I don't expect any man to write women as well as he writes men. If one can pull it off, great but I'm not going to hold it against him...unless of course he writes women as gross stereotypes. However, I thought August did a good job and though his women aren't featured as much as his men, I've found that said women are more complex than many have stated. But I agree with you about his strongest women. Rose just may be my favorite.

  • misha | September 22, 2011 12:46 PMReply

    "Sucks that you get irritated with people who diminish arguments of racism, but maybe that needs to happen..people of color who stop & say “whoa, hold up…is this racist?” I mean. Maybe there needs to be some critical thinking to go along with the passion so that the energy can be focused, directed, & impactful"

    HA! So am I to deduce that I'm not using any critical thinking skills simply because we don't agree? Oh, Jug.

    By the way, my point about one being able to argue that they hired Taraji to give the impression that they care about diversity is based on history. The notion of the token minority isn't something people of color just made up.

  • misha | September 22, 2011 12:43 PMReply

    "What I said about Gina is in terms of storyline & not every decision to leave someone off promotional materials is discriminatory."

    You are right. But you don't know for sure that it wasn't discriminatory in this case. (Heck you said yourself that it was more than likely sexist, which of course qualifies as discriminatory.) So to dismiss said argument as "bullshit" is just silly to me.

    "Where I have the issue is “if she was white” becoming the rallying cry. Do we know that for sure? Of course not, but looking at other clues about the show & its marketing may suggest otherwise."

    LOL What clues? The only clues I see seem to suggest that race and/or gender was indeed a factor. Seriously, I cannot fathom a popular, beautiful, Emmy/Oscar- nominated white actress being MIA in most of the promotion for a tv show in which she is one of the leads. Melissa Leo is in no way comparable to Taraji. Not all Oscar winners/nominees are created equal. Melissa isn't marketable...she doesn't have nearly the fanbase of someone like Taraji and she isn't what most would describe as a "star" Oscar or not. She has long been considered a "working actress."

    Once again, if you don't think race is a factor, that's fine. But I could really do without the "it's not racist and saying so diminishes real racism" argument. THAT is bullshit, not only because it isn't a real argument but because again, one can't possibly define what's racist and what isn't....not to mention that it seemingly gives a pass to all those who like to claim that race/racism doesn't exist anyhow.

  • Dankwa Brooks | September 22, 2011 11:54 AMReply

    Don't know what's up with the BELOW spacing, but when you copy and paste... :-/

  • Dankwa Brooks | September 22, 2011 11:53 AMReply

    Since I read entertainment news every morning (world news is depressing. Don’t gaf about what’s happening in Hakhakinstan or some damn place) I’ve been on her addition to the show since pretty much the beginning. I reported on it at my blog Cool Black Media way back on Thursday, March 10, 2011.





    Like Ghost said “This was a show CBS thought so high of CBS moved CSI and gave it that timeslot.” That is true. Also reported on my blog "According to CBS, Person of Interest received the highest test ratings of any drama pilot in 15 years, what one CBS executive called "crazy broad appeal you don't usually see." The ratings prompted CBS to move CSI, which had occupied that slot for over 10 years, to Wednesday 10/9c to make room for Person of Interest."-Washington Post



    As Jug said “Okay guys. I scanned the comments and while I agree with everyone who agrees with Taraji or thinks this is some straight BS, but my question is this



    Who is her publicist & what are they doing?”



    Who is to say that this rant was not prompted by said publicist to reach her as S&A pointed out HUGE social fan base? Everything is not as spontaneous as they may seem ESPECIALLY in La La land. That is not to say it wasn’t true.



    I graduated from a PWI (Predominately White Institution. LOL) and it was a huge wake up call to what the real world is like. My classmates thought the world belonged to them and it does. That’s not to say that I felt inferior, but I recognized that when they control everything that AS MUCH AS WE want to see our images and culture portrayed in the media so do they. Just like I don’t give a damn about Hakhakinstan, they don’t really care about our culture that much unless it relates to them (The Help).



    As far as the reaction in these comments I have to TOTALLY AGREE with theyounglion



    “Wow, what was it said in a post a few days ago about rushing to judgment about things that haven’t even been seen yet? In that case it was movies. I guess this is the television version of that. This show “Mixed Blessings” has only just been announced—no cast, no scripts, nothing filmed yet—and yet some people apparently already know exactly what it is and that it will suck.



    Me, I’m glad to see NBC make deals on three shows with black leads. That doesn’t mean I’ll like them and permanently add them to my rotation of shows, but I’ll at least give them a chance and watch the first few episodes.”



    Like I stated, I DID see one ad featuring Taraji TWICE and I don’t watch TV that often so who’s to say that it wasn’t repeated often (probably not though). I DID go to the POI site this morning and Taraji is all over the place so maybe her rant produced its desired result.



    You can see all of my posts about Person of Interest on my blog at as well as read my further comments prompted her rant at http://bit.ly/CBM_POI



    Finally, I TOTALLY AGREE with Jug “I love the fact she said “I cram to understand”...she’s so MC Lyte LMAO”



    She seems SO REAL and personable and THAT’S WHY she is my favorite female actor!


  • Jug | September 22, 2011 9:47 AMReply

    And I don't buy into the "one could argue that they hired her just to give the impression that they care about “diversity" idea simply because if that were black people's thinking, why do anything? Why try to get a job? Why audition, why try to make movies? Why work at the Post Office? It's just a booby prize from The Man.

    If the facts & clear reasoning lead me to that conclusion, I may deduce that. Otherwise, it's just a weak fall back position for some shit happening to you. As Life normally does.

  • Jug | September 22, 2011 9:44 AMReply

    See, I think we're in agreement Misha, at least on a baseline level. We both think it's bullshit that Taraji was left off of the cover? Check. Totally agree that it was idiotic. Bad business decision straight up & down & she should be insulted. Damn right she has an Emmy Nom & an Oscar Nom. What I said about Gina is in terms of storyline & not every decision to leave someone off promotional materials is discriminatory.

    Where I have the issue is "if she was white" becoming the rallying cry. Do we know that for sure? Of course not, but looking at other clues about the show & its marketing may suggest otherwise. That is why I said sometimes race clouds judgement. Melissa Leo had an Oscar and was nowhere to be found for shit dealing with MILDRED PIERCE for HBO. It was alllll Kate Winslet & Guy Pierce. There was also Brian O'Bryne (Emmy Nom), Mare Winnigham (Oscar Nom), Hope Davis (Golden Globe Noms) & to top it off, Leo got nominated for an Emmy for that one too! I know about the ads & that these actors were in it because I made the unfortunate decision of watching it LOL I think Evan Rachel Wood (Golden Globe Nom) got some love, but not because she was "Golden Globe" nominated, but because she was on TRUE BLOOD, an HBO favorite.

    Remember the Vanity Fair cover that excluded Gabby Sidibe & Zoe Saldana and then the editor came back with a bullshit-ass apology & "Oh My God, we're so sorry" riff. THAT was racist to me, because that was an active decision, when the story is about young new actresses making waves, and you leave off one who was in not only two mega huge films that year (one of them of all time) & the other one that made serious noise both because of her performance AND her size. Leaving Taraji off a cover about two guys is poor design & PR management, but it doesn't necessarily scream "keep the black chick off there".

    Is it Sexist, MORE than likely. But for me, and this is just me, when everything is held up as "racist" then nothing gets its just due as truly being racist. The Game getting booted out of a restaurant because he was sagging & rocking a beater, he claims it was "racist" and a "black thing". Bullshit, you look like a jackass. The joint used to be Houston's, I've been there a lot. Folks dress nice or decently in there. Guess he thought he was "different" LOL

    Sorry, got a lil' tangential, but I bring that up to say if every response to a perceived slight or mistake is racist, then Jesus, no one can do anything in this world, the rules seldom apply to you, Black people are ALWAYS right...AND the victim.

    Sucks that you get irritated with people who diminish arguments of racism, but maybe that needs to happen..people of color who stop & say "whoa, hold up...is this racist?" I mean. Maybe there needs to be some critical thinking to go along with the passion so that the energy can be focused, directed, & impactful. Or else everything is a Michael Eric Dyson rant or a soliloquy from Cornwell West LOL

  • misha | September 22, 2011 8:46 AMReply

    @Jug, I am not trying to make Taraji "The draw" at all. But the Gina comparison just doesn't hold up. There are two other actresses who get just as much (if not more) airtime as Gina. And perhaps most importantly, Gina hasn't gotten as much acclaim as an actress as Taraji. Again, Taraji is an Emmy and an Oscar nominee. It's IDIOTIC for the show not to highlight that at least somewhat to broaden the audience for the show. It doesn't matter how big or small an actor's role is, when said actor has garnered such acclaim, the powers that be (in film and tv) generally mention it during promos.

    Of course they didn't have to hire Taraji but that doesn't exclude race from being a factor. In fact, one could argue that they hired her just to give the impression that they care about "diversity." Yet, the lack of publicity for her role on the show says otherwise.

    And who gets to decide when there is a "true argument" to be made about race and when there isn't? If you want to argue that it isn't about race. Fine. Present your case. But it greatly annoys me when others claim that certain arguments diminsh "real" instances of racism, as if we are all going to agree on what is and isn't racist.

    I read what that editor said and my feelings ain't hurt at all. Am I supposed to buy what he's selling? LOL! Sounded like a standard response to me. I mean, what else was he going to say? It certainly doesn't mean race and sex weren't an issue. Surely, you don't think I'm that naive? ;)

    By the way, I don't think Taraji thinks she's going to be or even wants to be on the cover of TV Guide, certainly not now. So her not making a future cover isn't going to determine anything.

  • Jug | September 22, 2011 8:01 AMReply

    Real talk, she shoulda been in somebody's ass since the upfronts where this show killed to advertisers & has had super buzz all summer long.

    So again, I ask, where were he reps?

  • Jug | September 22, 2011 8:00 AMReply

    Misha, I keep bringing it up because the paralegal chick is a love interest. Normally, the love interest gets run, the other series regs may or may not, SHE gets no love in static ads for the show only when it deals with her storyline on commercials, which is why I never brought her up. The ideas of who gets promo & who doesn't works off of that dynamic as well. Gina is in almost all commercials week to week, but she is not on any billboards, bus stops ads or anything online. If anything, you would think Harvey runs the law firm, which he does not. I think Taraji is in the same situation, much as we want to make her THE draw.

    Saying Taraji is the female lead, honestly, doesn't mean much. Knowing everything Jonah Nolan has done, in this situation he is focused on the men. This show is not overly concerned with getting the female demo like say, everything on ABC. And in this case, the two men happen to have more name cache over Taraji, Emmy & Oscar noms be damned. This is not LOST, TRUE BLOOD, GREY'S ANATOMY or any other ensemble show. It's a procedural with two male leads.

    Now, wanting to make this situation about race weakens any true argument about race. The character was not written black, so they really didn't have to have Taraji in the damn thing at all!

    I'm not against Taraji, matter of fact, I totally agree. Stand up, call that shit out. Just saying making it about race & letting race cloud judgement is bullshit & a reeeally weak argument. This is about piss poor business decisions & TV Guide doing what CBS & Bad Robot most likely asked them to do.

    As for it working, we'll know if she's on the next cover. So far, all it did was have somebody explain to all who had their feelings hurt WHY she wasn't up there, not that she SHOULD'VE been and it was a mistake. Clear difference.

    http://www.toofab.com/2011/09/21/tv-guide-editor-in-chief-debra-birnbaum-taraji-p-henson-was-never-the-focus-of-cover-story/

  • misha | September 22, 2011 7:07 AMReply

    @Jug I'm not sure why you are comparing Gina Torres and Taraji. Gina's character may own the law firm but she ain't the lead female on the show. That paralegal chick has more story and airtime than Gina. Taraji, on the other hand, supposedly is the main female character yet she is nowhere to be found in most of the promotion, not just the TV Guide cover. As I said last night on the podcast, if Taraji were white with her resume (Hello! She's an Oscar AND Emmy nominee) you best believe she would be getting more promotion that she is now. Many of her fans didn't even know she was even on the show. She's had to do the promoting herself via twitter and facebook. No matter how you slice it, THAT's a problem.

    And I don't know if her public complaint was planned or not but it certainly did catch the attention of a lot of folk, including many of the blogs. The editor in chief of TV Guide was even prompted to make a statement, saying race and gender had nothing to do with Taraji not making the cover. So if her and her team's goal was to highlight this issue, I'd say it worked.

  • Jug | September 22, 2011 5:12 AMReply

    Come on BondGirl, you know PLAYBOY CLUB aint' that good. Beautifully shot, but wants to be MAD MEN so bad it can taste it. Problem is, it has no meat to it. All smoke, no flame.

    Then again, that's half of network tv LOL

  • Jug | September 22, 2011 5:10 AMReply

    Carey & Bondgirl-TRUE. TRUE. TRUE.

    Margaret-what you're saying, while heartfelt & I understand, is not good business. The show is not about her. Period. It's about those two white men. Notice what I said about SUITS. Gina Torres is on it. Series Regular, all episodes produced. Matter of fact, her character runs the damn law firm the two leads work for. Why isn't she in the ads? BECAUSE THE SHOW IS NOT ABOUT HER. I don't care how important she is to the story line, IT'S NOT ABOUT HER.

    Check it, if you're getting married, are you going to take pictures with your Maid of Honor & Best Man for the Invitations? How about for the Thank You cards? Website maybe? ....go ahead & think it over.....I'll wait...........

    Yeah, you know why not, because I'll say it again, THE SHOW AIN'T ABOUT THEM, tho they are HIGHLY IMPORTANT, the show ain't about them.

    Dankwa, as to theory that her publicist told her to do this...could be. Doubt it. Why? Because it was so poorly done, not widespread enough & seemed directionless. It was less a coherent argument then it was an outburst. I know we all believe that social networking is the second coming of Paul Revere, but many people, especially in Grey Hair Hollywood, as a tool for young people. Taraji bitchin' on Twitter or Facebook about a show on a network where the median age is 56-and that is being nice-isn't getting her message out there to those who do care.

    And again, I'm all for DIY, take it to the streets. But much in life is "Not What You Say, But How You Say It"-especially in this biz. With Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare & your Momma 'n' em, information runs rampant at ridiculous speed, so when you open your mouth you better know exactly what's coming out & how're going to sound.

    Case in point, EVERYONE said Melissa Leo was crazy & tacky for her Oscar ads, which she did herself. She said screw the Academy, the PR reps, the Studios & errbody else, I'm putting myself out there. Why? Because she recognized that although she had a phenomenal performance, she was running against juggernauts. Sony's, Warner Bros, The CAA's & WME's of the world, she went for self. Cool, I dug it. But not once, not in ONE ad, did she dog the academy, PR people or the like for not giving her her due. That was not the point. The point was to get her face out there during awards time, which spoke for itself that she had to do it herself. She bucked conventional "Hollywood thinking"....

    And ya know what, that chick has an Oscar on the mantle. Go figure....

    Now, JMac has a good point, MUCH of what happens is about your representation. This game is not so much about your talent, but who likes you & who's willing to vet you. The talent comes into play when you blow that shit up & you are suddenly the boss. So, Yes, Taraji should've said something, but being that Vincent reps Halle too, I doubt this would be his choice for running an attack at CBS-Oscar & Emmy nom or no. And he's right, UNDERCOVERS blew-period. Had nothing to do with Black leads...well a little. But it was not a good show.

    And he even said so....

    http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/s122/undercovers/news/a297522/abrams-undercovers-failure-was-my-fault.html

    But I liked it better on Howard Stern when he said "I fucked up."

  • misha | September 22, 2011 3:05 AMReply

    @CareyCarey I think you're talking about her facebook post. Her tweet to TV Guide was not taken down...it's still there.

  • Gina | September 22, 2011 1:38 AMReply

    I don't care that she's on the show. It's not a lead role, it's an unnecessary supporting one that exists for the sake of tokenism.

  • sandra | September 21, 2011 12:31 PMReply

    She voiced her VALID concern. No big deal as far as I'm concerned.

  • JMac | September 21, 2011 12:06 PMReply

    All I've got to say is I'm glad some of you people weren't around 60 years ago or we'd still be sitting in the back of the bus. Only thing wrong with Taranji's comments is that it wasn't a coordinated attack - not that she made them. You know damn well if - all things being equal - the female lead was Drew Barrymore she would have been mentioned/shown somewhere. If an actress who's managed to get roles in Oscar nominated films gets absolutely no play for a damn CBS show - not ABC, not NBC, but mf'ing CBS - something isn't right.... and she definitely needs a new agent. I don't know if Taraji's agent also handles Halle but Halle ain't exactly knocking anything out the park lately either despite the fact she's been riding the white dick to success since '96 (yeah, I said it).

    As far as Undercovers was concerned that show flopped for one main reason - the script was shit. Put two black leads on a show with a shitty script and it was going to die a tragic death regardless of how many blacks tuned in. The Event was a decent show and where did that end up despite the strong viewership it had. These tv networks should hit for every demographic they can get. White Men 18-34 just ain't cutting it like they used to.

  • Kia | September 21, 2011 11:56 AMReply

    Interesting. I'll say a few things:

    1. Can't front and say I even knew Tariji was in a tv drama--not sure how this got by me, maybe b/c I'm not into Tariji too tough.

    2. Silence is golden, but not always. If you must speak up, which I advocate, be a pro about it. I say this b/c we live in a world that has crazy double standards when it comes to what's acceptable for some is not for others. Charlie Sheen can say and do whatever... Tariji cannot.


    3.

  • Ghost | September 21, 2011 11:39 AMReply

    I had to do a search to find out who those other 2 white guys on this show are. Interesting enough everything they were in were movies and shows I coudln't GAF about.

    Any one could have figured taht if they wanted the most viewers-promte everyone to make sure you reach folks that might not know about this show.

    I flat out didn't know about this show.

    So she should be mad at that. It diesn't hurt her because it's CBS sending the message that they don't want "us" watching this show.

    This was a show CBS thought so high of CBS moved CSI and gave it that timeslot.

    As Halle Berry-they can have the same agent but look at the resumes of both.

    I don't remember seeing Taraji getting made to feel good by a crusty Billy Bob.

    Now look at the personal issues they both have. Isn't Halle Berry fighting with her baby daddy?

    Taraji didn't hurt herself by venting. A lot more folks are probably clapping behind closed doors that she said something.

    Including CBS and JJ Abrams-that show just got more attention and if it attracts higher rating than expected. Expect Taraji's character to get meatier parts on the show.

  • Shauntae | September 21, 2011 11:26 AMReply

    Great post. I had no idea that she was on the show, either. Also agree that she should direct her ire at CBS's marketing department and her publicist.

  • CareyCarey | September 21, 2011 11:10 AMReply

    Let me expound on why I agree with BondGirl.

    1.) The tweet was taken down so somebody thought it wasn't a wise move.

    2.) Taraji may be cool and all of that - it the "black" community, but she's not running a damn thang.

    3.) Let be real, she wasn't championed because black folks may... I say "MAY" tune in to suppost her,, but if Taraji never said a word, the show would go on without her and black viewers, i.e., excuse me but one monkey don't stop no show.

    $.) Yeah, say it loud "your black and proud" and all that jazz, but fools go where wise men tread not.

  • Margaret | September 21, 2011 10:22 AMReply

    @mike...okay I admit use of the wrong words for Taraji...she's not being as big as Emerson on t.v or Caviezel in film...but does that still explain why she got ZERO promo despite being a main cast member?

    Would it hurt to show her in promos and potentially get a few more views?

    Thats all I am wondering

  • CareyCarey | September 21, 2011 10:21 AMReply

    I agree with BondGirl!

  • BondGirl | September 21, 2011 9:34 AMReply

    @Vanessa: " She may not be “A” list but she has MANY fans on FB and Twitter that she interacts with daily."

    Yeah, so does Snooki.

    @Betty: "She’s not included in the promo, because when her character fades away it is so no one will notice."

    Bingo! You may have hit the head right on it. It's possible she wasn't expected to last anyway. No way to tell.

    @Mantan: Agreed, she shouldn't have done it. I guess her agent called her and told her to take that shit down, bc it's gone now. Celebs have to know when to edit their thoughts.

    @Doran: " I recall having to ask the press department to include Zoe Saldana in press for our show 6 Degrees years back and getting a little flack!"

    Thank you! I recently had a debate with someone on this thread who seems to think that Zoe is a "safe" black actress. Glad to see you shed some light on the real deal behind Zoe's TRUE struggle to the A-List.

    Anyway, Taraji is not A-List at all. Jim & Michael are definitely the bigger draw, regardless if Taraji is the female lead. Michael was the most talked about star on Lost, and those ratings were HUGE. Jim starred in a movie that made $350+MIL, and even though he's pretty blacklisted these days bc of the movie, he has a big following. The show is most likely geared towards whites who liked The Bourne Identity, not single black women.

    Anyone who thinks JJ Abrams is at "fault" probably didn't support his show starring Boris Kodjoe & Gugu Mbatha(sp?)...he's still recovering from that rare failure bc blacks refused to support it even though that was HIGHLY advertised. See when networks go all out, no one comes out. How many of you hypocrites watched Naturi on the Playboy Club last night? Blacks expect their neighbor to cover them, and this is the result.

    Taraji is ultimately responsible for her career in Hollywood. She and Halle have the exact same manager, but you don't see that cock-n-bull happening to Ms. Berry do you? I'm shaking my head at her unprofessionalism, as well as her poor career choices. Who the hell told her to agree to sing in a quartet at the Emmy's with a bunch of no-name motherfu***rs? You saw what Kerry Washington was doing right? She was laughing her butt off at the jokes...while sitting elegantly in her seat. The day I'll cry for an actress's career is the day I'll feel sorry for lottery winners.

  • Mr. Wilson | September 21, 2011 9:33 AMReply

    She spelled member wrong.

  • Margaret | September 21, 2011 9:30 AMReply

    @Jug

    Whether the show is male-centric or not...it still does not explain why for every single promo that they have done they cannot showcase Taraji. As someone mentioned, this is the first time the show is airing...as much as they are spearheading the show for a certain demographic does not mean that, at the end of the day that demographic will be the one that causes the show to thrive.

    It is just the pilot...the least they could do was at least give Taraji some promo, even if it is not for every single promo, she should have been given something

  • Jug | September 21, 2011 9:29 AMReply

    And Dorian has a great point! Back then, who the eff was Zoe Saldana?! (in Hollywood thinking y'all)

    Now, folks are cutting off their right arm to put Zoe on the cover of anything, Field & Stream and what not LOL

  • Jug | September 21, 2011 9:22 AMReply

    And to drive the point home, the EXACT same thing is happening with SUITS on USA (Gina Torres is nowhere in ads). Not an isolated incident.

    Someone mentioned GOOD WIFE, well the difference with a GOOD WIFE, is while Archie Panjabi is the third lead & integral to the story (dunno if Taraji is yet), that show is admittedly geared to a female demo. If PERSON OF INTEREST was geared towards women, or the female numbers start going up each week (because Jim is just so dreamy), you can bet your ass you'll see Taraji, Every. Where.

  • Jug | September 21, 2011 9:16 AMReply

    Margaret, c'mooon really?! I KNOW Taraji got nominated for an Oscar AND an Emmy, but her name cache is not like that. Hell I wish it was, because I would much rather see her and Michael Emerson handling business than Jim Caviezel, that dude is second only to Dermot Mulroney in the "I died of boredom" dept. But whether we like it or not, he is a name bigger than Taraji's, second to Emerson's-who is getting all this love because next to his name they can say "Emmy Winner from LOST".

    And let's be real, she is the female lead on a male-centric & male dominated show and she's NOT the love interest, so she is indeed the third lead. That's cool, I get why it's the two guys on the cover of everything, but you can at least show her from time to time.

    And again, I say this because a week & a half before she booked this role, she was at the SAG black history diversity panel lamenting about opportunities for minorities, specifically Black folks, because as she put it "no matter what happens we still got THIS!" and she pointed to her skin. So with that in mind, why did we all of a sudden think she was going to be all over everything?

  • bd | September 21, 2011 9:13 AMReply

    I didnt know she was on this show until i read about this issue....Then again, I didnt realize this was a show at all until i read this issue...hey, that's actually a really good cast.

    Maybe she isnt highly promoted because they are going after the michael emerson/lost fans and not the taraji p henson film fans? you know, like when they will make ads for a rom-com that look like it's an action movie to attract male viewers? I dunno. They dont do anything without a money reason for it- real or percieved, right? And if the major networks have proven anything, it's that they don't really covet the African American audience that they probably figure most likes Ms. Henson (which is kinda prejudiced idea in itself....)

    The real thing to be angry about is how few African American leads their are on tv dramas --- on covers or not... yeah?

  • George | September 21, 2011 9:06 AMReply

    Not a shock really even when I got wind of this on the Latest firewall and Iceberg podcast on hitfix.com. Alan Sepinwall basically gave his opinion on being purely rasicm. Look at the state of minority actors on Tv. If there not background tokens there marginalized to very cheap sitcoms on BET and TBS. It's a very sad time for both diversity and quality on tv right now.

  • Jug | September 21, 2011 9:01 AMReply

    Okay guys. I scanned the comments and while I agree with everyone who agrees with Taraji or thinks this is some straight BS, but my question is this

    Who is her publicist & what are they doing?

    This sort of thing should be pushed hard by her publicist & manager. I say that because if she was on SUPER NINJAHS on Nickelodeon, you can afford to chill. When you are on, by all accounts, one of the top 5 anticipated new shows of the season, you BLITZ that thing like your name was JJ Abrams LMBAO

    I'm just saying, TV Guide is definitely foul but I wonder what is going on with her people that she had to come out on her own & put them on blast?

  • mike | September 21, 2011 8:50 AMReply

    wait now @Margaret... do you really think Taraji is a bigger tv star than michael emerson or a bigger movie star than jim caviezel? that's almost as ridiculous as Richard's caviezel is a giant tv star comment.

  • mike | September 21, 2011 8:46 AMReply

    @Richard .... come on. caviezel a top tv star? every review i've read of this show says emerson and this chick are riveting and entertaining, while caviezel is on auto pilot and sucks the energy out of scenes he's in...

  • A thought not a critique | September 21, 2011 8:39 AMReply

    do you think they feel she is not pretty enough?

  • Chuck | September 21, 2011 8:29 AMReply

    I empathize with Taraji's frustration. I have repeatedly seen promos for this show, and not seen one sign of her. CBS has obviously made a decision who the draws for this show are, and she isn't included.

    This brings up an interesting point, though. The networks are ignoring, or choosing not to appeal to, audiences of color, because they do not fit their target demographic. The acclaimed, recently-concluded Friday Night Lights, a show I never watched, had a reputation and promotional materials so minority-free, I used to facetiously call it "Friday Night Whites."

    But I was surprised to find out recently that I was wrong. Kyle Chandler's character coached at a predominently minority school in its latter seasons. The show featured black characters who had their own storylines. The show featured Michael Jordan, the young actor who played novice drug dealer, Wallace, in the first season of the Wire.

    None of this was apparent upon my cursory viewing of the show's promotional materials. NBC, and later, DirecTV, let the fact that this show had a diverse cast go unnoticed. A show about small-town HS football that features black characters could have some real appeal for black audiences, and maybe you'll get some more viewers out of it, too.

    I don't get it. You always hear network audiences are shrinking, but when they do things like this, it's like they're leaving money on the table.

  • Bobbie | September 21, 2011 8:26 AMReply

    She makes an all too valid point over the TV Guide cover. I had no idea she was even in it they way they were promoting it. As time went on, I just kept looking the promos with less and less interest. But now that I know she's in it, that mood as shifted and pushes me in a different direction. Why they haven't shown her is a point of discussion and perhaps the elephant if the room that nobody wants to address in this Hollywood game.

  • Mia | September 21, 2011 7:47 AMReply

    Until this article, I had NO idea she was in this show.
    I might start watching the show now because she is in it.

  • Margaret | September 21, 2011 7:40 AMReply

    I'd have to say I totally agree with Taraji's anger here because I have seen numerous commercials and even ads in Toronto for the show and not ONE has included Taraji.

    She is easily a bigger star than the two men she is co-starring with and with the fanbase she has...I am shocked that CBS would not want to capitalize on that. Hell I am a young black woman and the only reason why I have interest in the show is because of Taraji....they should be PUSHING Taraji because as many have said it would open a whole new demographic that they may not have been thinking about.

    Not to mention...this is surprising that CBS would do such a thing considering how much they push Archie Panjabi in the Good Wife. Either way I hope CBS takes note of what they have been doing to Taraji and do better because she certainly DESERVES way more than they have been doing. Either way I will be tuning in, I hope her poppin' off doesn't hurt her role but I really do hope that CBS can see where she is coming from and make use of this terrific talent that is Taraji :)

  • misha | September 21, 2011 7:35 AMReply

    @Richard How much is JJ paying you? :P

    Seriously, why on earth would the powers that be not want to market the show to a wide audience, especially when you consider how quickly shows are cancelled these days? White men 25-54 aren't going to keep this show on the air by themselves. Heck, who's to say that they'll find the show appealing anyhow? That's no guarantee. And are you saying putting Taraji on the cover with Emmerson and Caviezel would turn off this so-called coveted demo?

    Btw, I wouldn't exactly describe Caviezel as one of the "top TV actors." He's known mainly from his film work...just like Taraji.

  • Cynthia | September 21, 2011 7:34 AMReply

    "...keep this stuff private between you and the producers"

    Yes @Richard because we ALL know this method has worked so well for us. *sarcasm*

    Btw, no one said this was an issue against JJ Abrams. It's about her being appropriately marketed and that makes a big difference...especially to be considered as a lead for future projects. Her gripe is in no way "insignificant" .

  • Kunle Adekolo | September 21, 2011 7:26 AMReply

    LMAO at JJ Abrams' comment below, posing as 'Richard'. We know that's you, JJ. HA!

  • Richard | September 21, 2011 6:32 AMReply

    Let's get real everyone, this show is geared toward a demo of white men ages 25-54 so why would they feature her on the cover. Caviezel and Emmerson are 2 of the top TV actors so Taraji just deal with it and keep this stuff private between you and the producers. JJ Abrams is one of the fairest and color blind people in the business so this has nothing to do with her color, sex, etc.

  • misha | September 21, 2011 6:13 AMReply

    I agree JMac. Also, it's worth noting that one of Taraji's fans tweeted her awhile back about not seeing her in any promotions for the show and she told them to let CBS know. I believe she even mentioned the show or CBS' official twitter page in the tweet. So I'm almost certain that the powers that be are aware of the issue.

    I'm glad that she's spoken out in a more forceful manner. Good for her!

  • JMac | September 21, 2011 5:56 AMReply

    Maybe this was a "safe" way for Taraji to address her exclusion- yell at TV Guide but not at her employers directly. That way CBS gets the hint and has the chance to save face w/o seeming like they had to get whipped to do right by her.

    Of course, with the series premiering tomorrow, it would have made more sense for her to say something much earlier. I bet she's been left out of several magazines and articles about the show than TV Guide.

    Glad she did finally say something.

  • darkan | September 21, 2011 5:38 AMReply

    It's all bull everyone. Taraji is not crazy and I'm pretty sure she's been putting up with it for sometime now just like so many other black actors. Good for her to speak up. Black people need to start boycotting and proving their dollar power once again because this is getting out of control. Maybe if more athletes and entertainers had a spark of black pride once again instead of sitting on their boats and lounging off how much money they made things would start to change for the community. So sad. it just keeps getting worst. I'm mad as hell and I can't take it anymore. Say it loud, "I'm black and I'm proud! You go Taraji, you have my support!

  • tambay | September 21, 2011 5:29 AMReply

    dcmoviegirl has a point. Maybe she has gone to CBS, but done so privately, and we just don't know about it; and this is what she's been forced to now do - lash out at TV Guide instead.

    Although, if she has spoken to CBS about this, I can only wonder what their response was, given that nothing has changed in how they've marketed the show, which debuts tomorrow.

    Plus, it's probably easier to go after TV Guide than it is to go after CBS, the company where the show is housed.

    Taraji, if you're reading this, and I know you are, we'd love to get the story on this :)

  • Rodney | September 21, 2011 5:15 AMReply

    @ Dorian Missick - thanks for the inside info. It would be great if more showbiz folks give us a peek into what really goes on.

    @ Tambay - I have a theory: maybe CBS swears by the recent research report that say whites won't think a film is for them if they see African Americans on marketing collateral in a leading or co-leading role?

  • dcmoviegirl | September 21, 2011 5:09 AMReply

    I agree that she should go to CBS, but who's to say she hasn't? Who's to say that she didn't know that this way would have a greater chance of being picked up in this era of social media? Isn't that how that one show ended up getting a second life on BET? CBS' feedback form is easily googleable. If enough people make noise, then perhaps it would make a similar impact.

  • mantan | September 21, 2011 4:37 AMReply

    @ Cynthia, I'm not saying she shouldn't speak up about this and make her issues known I'm saying she needs to make it known to CBS and producers/marketing team and even TV Guide themselves if it was really them that left her out FIRST before she vents on Facebook/twitter, that is not professional and could make her look bad if she hadn't already taken those steps.

    and my "white people don't want to hear that sh1t" comment didn't mean not to complain it just meant that even when you do complain and stand up for yourself "white folk don't want to hear that sht", lololol...so she's probably damned if she does and damned if she doesn't but she still needs to as, as a professional, go about this in the correct way so she doesn't tarnish her reputation, b/c i would hate for her venting and frustration to be misconstrued as being "b1tchy"/unprofessional b/c y'all know how it is out here.....

  • Jug | September 21, 2011 4:30 AMReply

    I love the fact she said "I cram to understand"...she's so MC Lyte LMAO

  • Monica | September 21, 2011 4:22 AMReply

    In Taraji's defense I will say, maybe there's more to it than we know. For all we know they could have done a days worth of photo shoot that she was VERY involved or something. Maybe she knows something we don't know that says TV Guide didn't put her on the cover. So I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, cause we don't know everything about this situation. It's probably some 50-50 TV Guide/CBS thing, but at the end of the day, I'm sure the magazines decide who goes on the cover.

    That said, I do find it strange that CBS doesn't capitalize on the fact that she's in the project. Her being so talented aside, there's a whole black audience their alienating as well as the fact as others have said, she's an Oscar and Emmy nominee. Honestly, I would know her over one of the male leads, Michael Emerson. He's one of those guys I've seen in things but I'd never know his name. Jim Caviezel most people know I think, but more people probably know Taraji --- by name -- than Michael Emerson. I guess we'll see.

  • Cynthia | September 21, 2011 4:02 AMReply

    @mantan...I have to respectfully disagree with you about that. If black actors and actresses don't SPEAK UP things won't change. Hell, even when they do say something nobody barely winks. The days of suffering in silence are gone.

  • Doran Missick | September 21, 2011 4:00 AMReply

    I applaud Taraji for speaking out. I read the script for the pilot and she is very much a central character to the story. Having been the only or one of 2 black series regulars on a few network shows, I completely understand her struggle. It's a catch 22 of sorts. On the one hand, it's great for our community to have a face like theirs on a network series, but on the the other, if It gets no coverage it's like the tree that fell in the forrest that no one hears. The fault definitely begins with the show's publicity department for not recognizing her importance. I recall having to ask the press department to include Zoe Saldana in press for our show 6 Degrees years back and getting a little flack!

  • Sophie | September 21, 2011 3:58 AMReply

    Michael Emerson is on the "A list" talent-wise.

  • ChezCerise | September 21, 2011 3:57 AMReply

    I actually didn't even know she was in it until I saw her FB post yesterday.

    All I could say was "really?"

  • Neziah | September 21, 2011 3:32 AMReply

    This is ridiculous.

  • mantan | September 21, 2011 3:22 AMReply

    as tambay said she needs to be getting at CBS for this and not TV Guide and as an actress she should be more professional and not air out her complaints to the public.

    I agree with her and she has every reason to be angry and hurt by what's happening but in the end it just doesn't look good on her venting like that on facebook/twitter.....that sh1t is the devil for celebrities....white people don't want to hear that sh1t, lololol....

  • Emmanuel | September 21, 2011 3:12 AMReply

    While I'm not surprised, I'm still incensed. Taraji has all the right in the world to be upset. This is, again, a network's way of belittling black actors, and the characters they play.

    The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is "why?" Why cast her in the role, only to treat her like she's an extra? Could it be that casting a black actress in this role was part of some quota-filling mission at CBS? Was it a move to stop the inevitable cries of "where's the minority representation at CBS this season?"

    Whatever the case may be, while I support Taraji's work, I won't be watching this series. CBS clearly didn't intend for me to, anyway.

  • Betty Chambers | September 21, 2011 2:57 AMReply

    You know they're gonna eliminate her character now, right? She'll be lucky if she gets 3 lines per episode.

    She's not included in the promo, because when her character fades away it is so no one will notice.

    And I had no idea she was on the show.

  • Vanessa Martinez | September 21, 2011 2:47 AMReply

    It's BS. I'm with Taraji on this, and upset for her. Taraji is an Oscar nominated actress with critically acclaimed roles. She may not be "A" list but she has MANY fans on FB and Twitter that she interacts with daily.

    Wrong and stupid of CBS to leave her out. What a shame.

  • PB | September 21, 2011 2:46 AMReply

    I agree. The biggest issue is with the PR Department, not the magazine. However, I'd like to say though she isn't "A" list, her previous Academy Award nomination and 2011 Emmy nomination should make her TV Guide cover-worthy.

  • Dankwa Brooks | September 21, 2011 2:44 AMReply

    I saw her in ONE promo I think I only saw twice that mentioned Academy Award Nominee Taraji P. Henson AFTER Emmy Winner Michael Emerson. The only graphic I was that one released for Comic Con.

    I'm going to say that perhaps PERHAPS they are only showing clips from what looks like the pilot (that she might not be in at all) and other footage of later shows have not been factored in.

    Just Devil's Advocate. I was excited to hear that she was coming to a regular role in television as she is my FAVORITE FEMALE ACTOR right now!

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