Taraji P. Henson Says “Empire” Doesn’t Need The N-Word To Be Authentic


Taraji P. Henson doesn’t think her hit show Empire needs the N-word in order to be considered authentic.

During a recent interview with TMZ, Terrence Howard (who plays patriarch Lucious Lyon) said the show should mimic real life and feature more use of the n-word:

“I’m mad that we don’t say n—– in the show,” he admits. “Why is TV showing something different from the reality of the world? Why is there a thing called censorship that stop people from hearing everyday talk? We use n—– every day. It’s become part of a conversation—why aren’t we using it in the show?”

TMZ then caught up with Taraji, aka Cookie, who thinks otherwise. A new video interview features our girl saying nope to the n-word.

What’s your take?

Via Global Grind

  • Natasha

    ABSOLUTELY NOOOOOT….and NO, its not being used everyday by everybody. I don’t want to hear it on TV. PERIOD

    • Glendora Williams

      I agree, ABSOLUTELY NOT, there is no need for the N word. The show is doing very well without it. Like Taraji stated, IT WILL PISS PEOPLE OFF.

  • Elizabeth Isnotyourdoormat Jel

    What is that going to change? People get the point of the show without being so raw. Isn’t time for us to move past that people say it every day because honestly based on history we shouldn’t want to use it!

    • Mizz Ones2U

      Exactly and sad thing is most don’t even know about the history of the word and what it meant when THEY created it!

      • Edith Robinson

        Exactly. But I can imagine who c r e a t e d it. That’s real cute of u to say that.

    • Debba Murphy

      I totally agree, history has condition this negative behavoir of using this word, for centuries, but we can change and have made changes in that slave mentality attitude. When you forced to hear or see something its doesnt easly erase from your memory. Lets stop what we was conditioned to do or say

  • June

    Nooooo we are trying to stop the use of the word by racists. Why do we need it said in Empire. Great show……leave well enough alone!!!

  • Ygarza

    Hell NO!!!

  • Ms17

    Hell No. We as blacks need to stop uses the n-word with one another, but get upset when a non-black use it toward us…Smh

    • Edith Robinson

      U damn right we get upset if another race calls us a nigga. And if a black say it to another black that’s different. They r still using the word nigga. And that’s not gonna stop. Let me refras that. White people and Mexican every other race will call us a nigga in a minute. And if u think not u crazy as hell. It all depends on how u handle the situation.

      • Nikki

        We should stop saying it to each other. We need to make a stand within our community and hold other responsible as well. That word no matter what the ending is -ga, -er…etc is still wrong and not a term of endearment! Grow up and educate a community not assist in staying ok with this type of speech with each other.

        • Edith Robinson

          Too late for all that. Its out there

          • J Oston

            Yes its out there it doesn’t make it right. I say no leave it alone. But if by chance they use it, let Bertilla do it and get the dog mess knocked out of him. We have to have respect for ourselves. There was a time, when every Black person in America name was NGA How sick was that?

      • Marisol

        You’re ignorant EDITH. Stoooooooooopid too

    • Edith Robinson

      U damn right we get upset if another race calls us a nigga. And if a black say it to another black that’s different. They r still using the word nigga. And that’s not gonna stop. Let me refras that. White people and Mexican every other race will call us a nigga in a minute. And if u think not u crazy as hell. It all depends on how u handle the situation.

  • desi

    we don’t need to use the “N” word for the show.

  • Beverly

    I do not use the word everyday. I dont like the word. If you were a child having this word thrown at you you would not get the joke or carelessness of it now. As a matter of fact it would be nice to see a show without it. And hear music including hip hop without it. Stop giving power to that word in such an ignorant manner.

    • Edith Robinson

      There r plenty of shows that don’t use it. U just need to turn to it. If the word nigga is offensive to u.

      • TinaBoozer

        No not really it isn’t on Empire so why do they need to watch something else. People should be able to watch what they want without having offensive words tosses in for no other reason than effect. That is what the great acting is supposed to be for.

  • April Callahan

    Hello no just because there is a majority black cast does not make it right. The show the message is universal

  • Unknown

    Would it be acceptable if Terrence Howard’s character was a white man? If the answer is no for
    the white man it should be no for the black man. Do we need a black man using the “N” word to make the show authentic? Some people expect to hear it, but this show is not that predictable. We are surprised every week. The use of the”N” word would not be a surprise it would be expected.

    • Edith Robinson

      Just like someone commented about the show being 95percent black. Well who new the other 5percent was white. So if they new the script of empire I guess they would not have taken it without. Knowing different words that was gonna be on there. I didn’t hear anything about Terrance Howard telling his son the( minute he bought that white women to his house he wasn’t to be trusted). I didn’t hear anything on that.

      • TinaBoozer

        knew not new…wow

  • Guest

    Because Paula Deen was ruined because of it so we dont need to use it.. We don’t miss it and some would not watch if the n-word is used.

  • Annette Reachingforthestars Fi

    Lose 5 pounds in 5 days ask me how ??

  • Nikki Robinson

    I hate to see someone justify using the (n) word. Just because it’s part of everyday use does not mean its right. Our Ancestors have gone through too much for our society to continue holding us back. People will say to you what you allow them to say.

  • nanny17

    I can not stand that word!!! He’s not a youngster he grew up being called one by White’s.. They get mad when someone out of our race use’s it but it’s ok when they call each n every1 the n word.. No it’s not a word that should be used on the show

  • Khalim1704@yahoo.com


  • Misteablu

    NOT necessary…and no we DON’T all use that word everyday…please…smh…this is a really good show; don’t mess it up…

  • empire fan

    I hope I never hear that word ever again as long as I live

  • tricia721

    Nope, sorry, ain’t going to happen. If it does, I will stop watching this show, and it is too good to stop watching. We need to stop using it anyway.

  • Ron The Don

    That show has WAY more problems than using the N-word.Back-stabbing,Lying,Snitches,Cantakerous Black woman,Alternative lifestyles,Lighskinned over the Darkskinned….CORNY Rap music! I think the show is a Horrific example for impressionable young Black minds.

  • Mimi

    The N word isn’t necessary to prove anything, we get the hang of the show and degrading language will only just make us appear like the word in itself.. Times and things are changing and so should we… It didn’t change what our folks went through it shows what their struggle has done for us

  • kim

    The n word means low down dirty person so any race can be called the n word I don’t use it and don’t like to hear us putting each other down we need to teach our children the true meaning of the word yes it also means wood but we are not calling each other wood ask yourself why should we down grade ourselves

  • shondared

    I don’t understand why we contradict ourselves and want equality, but want to keep the title of the N word which was branded as an insult, so why would we accept the insult among one another, then get angry with the rest of the world for using it.

  • Paula Francis

    nobody uses the n-word in my family. Its not something we say all the time. Its already the best show on TV. Why mess with the best?

  • imme

    I agree ms17 as black ppl n amamerica we need 2 tk the word back nd remember where it originated 4rm….its a HATEFUL word but its said so much nw we “try” 2 glorify the wrd 2 the point our children r wlkn around saying it nt knowing the tru meaning bhind it…. The show is a #1 hit show the cast 97% black….that says enuff w/o having 2 use the nigga 2 make it a hit!!!!

  • Jermaine BullydatAss Garrett

    So we can watch to man kiss on the show but can’t say the N word….get real if I have to sit n deal wit gay shit the n word damn sure don’t bother me str8 up…..

    • Edith Robinson

      True that. These black people act like it is a crime to say that because they have probably been called one coming up. Get use to it. We say nigga to each other. But true enough another culture outside bet not.

      • TinaBoozer

        We don’t. Uneducated, ignorant black people do all day every day.

  • Jermaine BullydatAss Garrett

    Do people understand the difference between,Nigga n Nigger……like wtf

    • TinaBoozer

      There is no difference as far as I am concerned. People who use it should not be opposed to having someone call them one at any given moment. It should be okay if you don’t have a problem with it.

  • Danielle Bryson

    Well, I will be the naysayer here, and say i agree with Terrance Howard because television should reflect reality and you cant hide that the “n” word is still around. But its just a word and it has no control over me, so I dont care either way. I know who I am.

    • Edith Robinson

      True that. A lot of m….. F need to get there head out the clouds and come to reality. For real

    • TinaBoozer

      Maybe your reality but some of us were actually raised right and that hateful word was outlawed and we do not want to see a bunch of artist shuckin and jivin so they can get ratings.

  • Mizz Ones2U

    I love it!!!!!! Thing is some in the rap world says that N—a is part of their culture! Ummm NO THE HELL IT IS NOT! Learn your History and you will find out just who and how the word was created – So don’t be clueless followers into thinking that this disgusting word belongs to us!

  • Dina Turner

    Why fix what’s not broken…This is one of the top rated shows on the Network. The show is not going to go down in flames for not using it so I would not use a word that has a root to it that degrades another race regardless of who’s using it now.

    • Edith Robinson

      Don’t look like the show is gonna be on too much longer.

  • shelia malone


    • Edith Robinson

      I was just reading what u said. Who told u that u were African american. Your friends parents teachers who. I just wonder.if it would affect the rating then they probably would not have put it on TV. Classy yet ghettofied. Let’s talk about that. We as as (African Americans) I don’t remember seeing blacks as proper talking yet for that matter as being classy. U adjusted to society. Yet I see everyday my black people needing to stay in there on line if u get my meaning.

      • TinaBoozer

        Speak for yourself WE are not African Americans we are HUMAN BEINGS that is our only race. African American is a term created to separate us from the ENTIRE rest of the country. You don’t hear caucasians calling themselves European Americans do you.
        Races were created by the Transatlantic Slave Trade. So that people who do not look like Europeans can be bought sold and tortured among a few of the atrocity committed on people of dark hue or darker hue. They were no longer human but sub human therefore they did not need to feel guilty when they did all of the hateful things they did.

  • TK

    I totally agree with Taraji!!! Say no to the N–word. And there are many people that DO NOT use the n word in their daily lives or conversation.

    • Edith Robinson


  • Sheila G

    The n-word is NOT needed. Empire’s ratings have consistently risen week after week. Nobody is in an uproar because the word hasn’t been used but we all know it would hit the fan if it was. We watch because we are invested in the characters, the actors, the music and we love the storyline. The recipe is perfect, “As Is”. Let’s not mess up a good thing.

  • Debba Murphy

    When humans are condition to say or behave in a negative way, its not easily broken, but behavoir can change as one mature. We are motivate by what we see and hear…good job Tarij…positive model.

  • Marisol

    Terrence Howard is a greeneyed homosexual. If he wants truth, he should admit it

  • Sharon Campbell

    I’m right along with the last 3 comments. Black’s have a fit if anyone besides another black person call them the N word.

  • TinaBoozer

    He is a damn fool. Not everyone uses that damn word he needs to go sit his retarded ass down somewhere.

  • Farrah

    The n-word is offensive – I don’t care what “ending” you put on it. Just because something is every day language doesn’t mean it isn’t ignorant. I, as a Black person don’t use the word at all in any way, shape or form and I know plenty of other educated, intelligent, conscious Black people who don’t either. We also don’t listen to music or watch TV shows that feature it. We get mad when anyone uses it – Black, white, or other. I’m disappointed that so many of you don’t understand the history of pain and sacrifice behind this word our ancestors have worked so hard to get away from being called. I would never disrespect another brother or sister by using the n-word, even in a so-called “friendly” way. It needs to be buried in the past along with confederate flags and Jim Crow laws. And Terrance Howard is known for his disdain of Black women – let’s think about how someone with so much self-hate and love for women of every other race but Black is so eager to use the word. That is further proof the word’s only contribution to our vocabulary is hate. Let’s evolve.

  • SpeakMyMind2011

    She is right, but not because it will “piss people off”, but because it is a derogatory term that is unnecessary for proper communication.