Taraji P. Henson on Possibly Making Emmys History: 'I Don't Want to Make It About a Material Thing'

When you're Cookie Lyon, you can't lose.

Taraji P. Henson
wants to win the Emmy -- and it's not for her own selfish reasons.

The 45-year-old actress is up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Cookie Lyon on the Fox juggernaut Empire. If she wins, she'd be the first black actress to win an Emmy in the category -- a historical moment in the awards show's history.

"It's an important moment. I just feel like I want it to happen tonight, either for myself or Viola [Davis] so we can get past it, so it's not big news anymore. I mean, it is 2015. We have a black president," Henson told ET's Nancy O'Dell.

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"I hope for just that reason alone that we move past it," she continued, "and then it becomes about the work."


Henson, working a gorgeous black custom Alexander Wang gown, took the moment to praise her fellow nominee, Davis, who is nominated for her scintillating turn as Annalise Keating on ABC's How to Get Away With Murder.

"I love her too. I think her work is amazing, and she deserves it just as much as I do," Henson said. "I feel like I'm already a winner. I've made so many dreams come true. I'm here. Whether you walk away with a statue or not, you shouldn't make it about it that necessarily. Everyone who's here in this house tonight is a winner."

"If you make it about the thing, it makes you angry and bitter!" she added.

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But here's where Henson may have won the Emmys, with this perfect statement that had O'Dell begging her to run for president. #CookieLyon2020, anyone?

"I'm going to refuse to let a statue -- not that it doesn't matter, if I took it home I'm excited -- I don't want to make it about a material thing, but about the moment and the feelings and the emotions and the changes that behind that," she said.

When asked about rumors that Oprah Winfrey may be coming to Empire as Cookie's mother, Henson said she'd be down to do just about anything to make it happen.

"I will do anything I need to," Henson said with a laugh.

Henson, who brought along her 91-year-old grandmother, mom and son as her Emmy dates, spoke about the difficulties she faces in the dating world.

"I think they get caught up in what I do, and at the end of the day, it's just a job. That's all it is," she opined. "I'm not Cookie! I am a trained actress."

When asked about Tyrese Gibson's Instagrams declaring his love for her, Henson called her Bad Boy co-star one of her "biggest fans."