Taraji P. Henson, 48, got everyone on Twitter talking after her performance at the 2019 Bet Awards on June 23. The actress attended the award show due to being nominated for Best Actress (the category didn’t list specific acting projects for its nominees), but we always love Taraji for her role as Cookie Lyon on Empire, which she has portrayed since 2015. To kick off the award show, Taraji took the stage with an ensemble that was perfect for doing the “Running Man” and “Da Butt” to the song of the same name, “Da Butt,” a 1988 hit from Washington D.C.-based band E.U. (Experience Unlimited).
E.U.’s Sugar Bear was also on stage to supply the jams, along with James Funk from Rare Essence — both members from iconic Washington D.C. go-go groups! Taraji popped off in short black biker shorts with a matching fanny pack, and the bicyclist-inspired athleisure showed off her gorgeous curves. She styled her hair into a voluminous, crimped ponytail and rocked a red windbreaker to add to the ’80s tribute. The actress opted for a smoky bronze eye to complement her outfit, and topped the look with K-Swiss sneakers. She accessorized with large hoop earrings and bubble hair ties to hold her ‘do in place!
Jamming out right alongside her was host Regina Hall, 48, who also stuck to the red-and-black theme in tasseled pants and a bustier bodysuit. The Little star led the performance with a marching band, a wink at the opening of Beyoncé’s Netflix documentary Homecoming. However, the BET Awards’ opening number was not only a tribute to Taraji and Regina’s hometown. It also shed light on #DontMuteDC, a movement that is protesting gentrification in Washington D.C. after a noise complaint forced a local Metro PCS store to stop playing go-go music outdoors (something the store had done since 1995, according to The Washington Post).
— PRETTY HU$TLAZ (@PrettyHustlaz) June 24, 2019
Earlier this year, Taraji’s show’s cast was rocked by a scandal when co-star Jussie Smollett, 37, was falsely accused of staging an anti-gay hate crime against himself. “You have to stay strong, stay positive, full of hope,” Taraji said at The Best of Enemies premiere in New York City on March 17. She said that she and the rest of the Empire cast was staying “strong” amidst the media circus about the attack on Jussie.
Now that that situation is behind the show, and season five finished airing a month ago, we’re excited to see how the show takes shape in the future. We know one thing’s for sure, though – Taraji will do a stellar job acting out her character and we can’t wait to see more from her.
Furthermore, we’re excited to see if Taraji takes home the award for her category. She’s up against Issa Rae, 34, Regina Hall, 48, Regina King, 48, Tiffany Haddish, 39, and Viola Davis, 53 – a tough category! Can we root for them all? They’re all winners in our heart! Regardless of whether Taraji gets an award tonight, she definitely won the red carpet in our hearts!