Taraji P. Henson on Why 'Empire' Spinoff Focused on Cookie Has Been Put on Pause (Exclusive)

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Empire fans may have to wait a little while longer to see Cookie back on their screens again. Taraji P. Henson told ET's Kevin Frazier that the Empire spinoff that was set to be centered around Cookie has been put to rest for now until the script is just right.

"I think we're gonna put it to rest for a sec," Henson reveals of the much-anticipated series. "For me, the script has to be right. It has to be worthy of the audience. We have to give the audience something incredible, and sometimes, I think you need time, time away. I think absence makes the heart grow fonder."

While Cookie may be put on pause, Henson definitely is not. The Oscar-nominated actress is preparing to host the 2021 BET Awards this Sunday in Los Angeles, where she teased lots of looks and plenty of laughter for the live show.

"It's all about the fashion," she tells ET. "I would have to say for this one, it's about the entrance. I’m always going to try to make you laugh and forget about the woes and the troubles of the world, so look forward to a lot of fun, a lot of laughter, because that's what I like to do."

While Henson kept pretty light-lipped on the details of the show, she did say that this year will be all about celebrating Black women, including Queen Latifah, who is being honored with the Lifetime Achievement award on Sunday.

"What I love particularly about this year, is that we are celebrating the Black woman," she says. "This is the year of the Black woman because the Black woman has made incredible strides in changing history, politics, music, you name it, we done it."

The actress has a busy week leading up to the BET Awards. Her Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is hosting "A Write to Education: My Mental Health Matters" event Thursday. The live fundraiser will feature a Zoom panel discussion with Henson and Yara Shahidi, moderated by Dr. Spirit. Rapper Common will also jump on with Maimouna Youssef for a bit of Hip Hop Therapy. The aim of the event is to help students channel trauma or things that they are dealing with into music and art.

"It's a curriculum for students to speak out about things that are not being spoken or taught in school situations," Henson says of the event.

For more on the actress and philanthropist, watch the video below.


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