Taraji P. Henson Praises Lil Kim’s Influence On Her ‘Empire’ Character, Nicki Minaj, & More

Published: Thursday 5th Feb 2015 by Rashad
Screen shot 2015-02-05 at 3.36.34 PM

As new hit FOX series ‘Empire’ continues to reign over TV competition, viewers are finding more and more reasons to fall in love with the show’s first lady Taraji P. Henson.

Portraying the ever-sassy/sharp-tongued mother figure “Cookie,” the D.C.-born beauty’s tongue-in-cheek humor is finding favor from critics and fans alike as it thematically strays from many of Henson’s previous roles.  When quizzed on the inspiration for the character in a recent ‘Vogue’ interview, readers were stunned to learn that the star looks no further than the Queen B – Lil’ Kim.

Read her interesting quotes below as she reflects on Kim’s influence on hip hop culture, especially as it relates to the genre’s new leading lady Nicki Minaj:

Via Vogue:

Were there people from hip-hop culture that you specifically referenced for Cookie?
She’s more than hip-hop: She’s everywoman, she’s a mother, she’s a family woman, a wife, a ride-or-die. She made a sacrifice to break the cycle of poverty, and that makes her an everywoman. Is she influenced by Foxy Brown? Certainly. That’s where a lot of her style comes from—Salt-N-Pepa, all of that. That era of hip-hop was her heyday, those are the woman she identifies with.

Lil’ Kim is surely a big influence on Cookie.
Kim is everything. Today it’s Nicki Minaj, but Nicki Minaj got everything from Kim. Kim came on the scene and made everything change for women—she made it feminine and sexy and hardcore. She was a champion, and she’s certainly Cookie’s champion.

What is it about Cookie that resonates with so many people?
I think it’s because she’s the truth; she speaks the truth. You know exactly what you’re going to get from her. She is what she is—I wish everybody was like that. She’s free, she’s in the now, she says exactly what she feels, and I know most people wish they could all be so bold. She’s the moral compass.


Read the interview in its entirety here.

lil kim taraji thatgrapejuice

Your thoughts?

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  1. MariahIsMusic1 February 5, 2015

    Preach the tea. Queen T. Kim invented these h***.

    • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 5, 2015

      YAAAASSSSSSSSSS!!! Taraji is preaching the truth! The Queen of Rap Lil’ Kim is the reason these h*** exist.

      • I STAN(D) FOR TALENT February 5, 2015

        YAAAASSSSSSSSSS!!! Taraji is preaching the truth! The Queen of Rap Lil’ Kim is the reason these h*** exist.➡ !!LOL!! Kim used to be the number 1 höe, she cant scrape any relevance now!!! Why don’t you go to the store and buy her mixtape -OH Wait you can’t cause its PayPal only! I can’t with these delusional hœs

      • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 6, 2015

        Lil’ Kim’s 1st album “Hard Core” – 2x Platinum
        Nicki Minaj’s 1st album “Pink Friday” – Platinum

        Lil’ Kim’s 2nd album “Notorious K.I.M.” – Platinum (in 28 days)
        Nicki Minaj’s 2nd album “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” – Can’t sell a million copies.

        Lil’ Kim’s 3rd album “La Bella Mafia” – Platinum
        Nicki Minaj 3rd album – 466k. Can’t go gold after NINE WEEKS and won’t see Platinum sales.

        But you fuuucking bum barfz keep trying to throw Paypal shade, but your fave can’t even beat Kim’s RIAA album numbers. FUUUUCK OUTTA HERE!

      • J February 6, 2015

        Stop the nonsense. How long has KIM first album been out? It better be double plat.
        DONT FORGET that Pink Friday has the highest female rapper first week (excluding Miseducation) of all time and is on the brink of being double plat.

        Roman Reloaded is platinum according to the RIAA.

        The Pinkprint debuted #1 on top rap albums chart. what about La Bella Mafia?! OH #4 with only selling 166k while TPP moved 250k units first week and selling 200k.

        Do ya homework

      • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 6, 2015

        All you bum barf bïtches can cling to is first week sales. It doesn’t matter if an album sells 400k the first week if it stalls at 800k. The shít still ain’t platinum. Kim’s albums have consistency. Kim’s albums don’t come out of the gate with monster sales, but she went platinum within four weeks during her prime. Stink pussÿ Flopnika can’t go platinum in her prime after her first album. KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

  2. Beyonce Wins February 5, 2015

    Sorry Taraji but I have to stop you.
    The only thing Nicki took from Kim is her IMAGE.If you think Nicki is where she is today because of Kim you need to ask yourself some serious questions.

    Personally, i’d rather be friends with Kim because she seems nicer but Nicki is the smart one which is why she’s outperformed Kim even without half as many iconic moments.

    Intelligence >>>> beauty.

    • MariahIsMusic1 February 5, 2015

      Lil Kim is the blueprint! Even TPP is influenced by kim musically, why would Queen T lie?

      • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 5, 2015

        Exactly. The song that people like the most from The Pinkslip is “Four Door Aventador” and everyone says she tries to sound exactly like Lil’ Kim. Even her own fans on Twitter were saying they wish Lil’ Kim featured on the verse. Flopnika would be selling pusssy on the streets on Queens without Lil’ Kim creating a blueprint for her. Kim blazed a trail by herself in this hip hop sh!t and for that reason she will forever be THE QUEEN OF RAP.

    • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 5, 2015

      The only thing she took is her image? You act as if stealing someone’s entire image is a small thing. But that’s not true. She stole Lil’ Kim’s image, bars, concepts, and dissed her while doing it. Watch this documentary and educate yourself.


      • J February 6, 2015

        LOL GET OVER IT. SHE TOOK THE SPOT. Kim and her sad fans hanging to this documentary for dear life is the reason she is where she is. BROKE WITH NO DEAL

    • Yoncè February 6, 2015

      Lil KIM is the Blueprint! These are way different these days! People are more accepting of black woman! lil KIM shoved s** appeal and hardcore lyrics down your throat to make you accept it! She made every label get a female rapper!

  3. KermitEMPIRE February 5, 2015

    Icon type s***! They both are inspirational……both Kim and Nicki…..the fact that Kims swag transcended to Nicki and used to configure the character of Cookie on Empire, truly shows how much Lil Kim has inspired both Pop Culture and Hip Hop…”It only takes on……”

    • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 5, 2015

      Kim is inspirational. Kim is iconic. Flopnika Garbaj is just a copycat version of Kim who will not be remembered in five years. There’s a reason why 21 years after her debut, Kim is still inspiring rap h*** and having TV characters based on her image. Flopnika Garbaj has no classic records even though she has 4338493898439 chart entries. That’s the real tea. If you think that people will be calling Flopnika Garbaj to perform at award shows in 2030, you must be smoking crack. That b**** is a fad. She will never be a legend like the Queen of Rap Lil’ Kim.

  4. @RealMattPhoenix February 5, 2015

    The ironic thing is everyone knows who Lil krim and nicki minaj are but nobody knows you outside of the local TV network.
    This show was over hyped to the max though. If I wanted to watch ratchet people act classy in a ratchet way, i’d put on the beyonce visual album or watch the elevator video.

    • MariahIsMusic1 February 5, 2015

      Boo hoo, you’re boring kys

    • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 5, 2015

      B****, bye!

  5. KingBey February 5, 2015

    #Siptea and wait for the haters to attack #cookie about keeping it real!

    • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 5, 2015

      Everyone knows the truth. Lil’ Kim MOTHERED these h***, but everyone wants to be on the bandwagon of whoever is hot, so they support Flopnika Garbaj’s swagger jackery. When Flopnika Garbaj completely falls off, which she will by album #4, people will start telling the truth about her and she will leave the industry DISGRACED. Don’t believe me? Just watch!

  6. We Found Rihanna February 5, 2015

    Love Nicki long time but this is true.

  7. kareem February 5, 2015

    Yes Taraji speak the truth Lil Kim is the pink print for female hip hop in regards to sexiness

    • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 5, 2015

      OKAY! PREACH! The nerve of Flopnika trying to name her whacka$$ album The Pink Print, as if Kim’s Hard Core isn’t the REAL PINKPRINT. Flopnika is the kind of brave swagger jacker who will steal someone’s entire swag then pretend that she created the lane, as if people are stupid and don’t remember anything. I can’t wait for that stink pusssy ho to crash. Watch how she is going to leave the rap game in disgrace.

      • I STAN(D) FOR TALENT February 5, 2015

        OKAY! PREACH! The nerve of Flopnika trying to name her whacka$$ album The Pink Print, as if Kim’s Hard Core isn’t the REAL PINKPRINT. Flopnika is the kind of brave swagger jacker who will steal someone’s entire swag then pretend that she created the lane, as if people are stupid and don’t remember anything. I can’t wait for that stink pusssy ho to crash. Watch how she is going to leave the rap game in disgrace.➡ WOW!!! the delusion! Iggy has both these hœs scared, Iggy’s skills are better than kim and nicki combined and the public like her image more! are you seething yet bītch?!?! I do love your persistence 🙂 🙂

  8. Fine ass lou February 5, 2015

    I only heard facts. Nicki is good the chick made everyone see her but the truth is, nobody would’ve paid attention if she wasn’t doing something that we had already seen. Which is why she was rapping on top of biggie beats, referencing kim in every other song, taking raunchy pics wit lollipops, colorful wigs, songs about raunchy s** and stuff like that. This is what kim was known for. She did the opposite of what chicks were doing back then. If Nicki wanted she coulda created her own style and stuck with it and maybe somebody would’ve believed but since she chose to bite off kim on her way to the top, everybody’s givin kim most of the credit cause she swagger jacked her big time.

  9. Mark111 February 5, 2015

    It’s true tho. Come on people and barbs, that’s like saying Ciara isn’t a copy of Janet and Aaliyah. Or Beyonce with Tina/Ross, CB with MJ and Bobby. Sure the later artist are ok to good, but you have to respect the blueprint and the marketing model/steps these artist laid down.

    • LIL’ KIM IS THE G.O.A.T. February 5, 2015

      PREACH THE TRUTH! There is only one female who paved the way for women to be s*** while spitting that hardcore sh!t. Her name is the Queen Bee, the QUEEN OF RAP, LIL’ KIM!

  10. FutureCIARA February 5, 2015


    • Lana Del Bae February 5, 2015


  11. britneyraycarey February 5, 2015

    wow i sure do see the resemblance of the character with Lil Kim. Lil Kim birthed all these boss h***!!

  12. Gee February 5, 2015

    Taraji only spoke facts about Lil Kim’s influence on the pop culture landscape for female rappers as far as style, and the use of female sexuality. What she did was take a risk and it definitely paid off. So my hats off to Kim salute The Original Queen B.

  13. TheElusiveLamb February 5, 2015

    I would’ve never guessed that. I kept wondering who was her inspiration for the Cookie character.

  14. DanYiel Teflon February 5, 2015

    “Wanna Rumble With The Bee Huh BZZZZZ”
    The Quen Bee A.K.A Black Barbie dressed in Bulgari I’m trying to leave in somebody’s Ferrari!!Now Tricki Garbagh claims to be…I Guess Carry On Kimberly Denise Jones!!

  15. Rico February 5, 2015

    I can definitely sense it from how she carry herself on the show screams lil kim. I really wish nicki would swallow her pride and make up with her idol. Honestly a kim collab would sefinitely
    Have kim and nicki both with a number one .. With new rules from billboard I see that as being easy barbs and original beehive

  16. LEGENDARY BIITCHES February 5, 2015

    You better say that againTaraji!! Lil Kim was the one that girls like Nicki wanted to be. Kim had it All down. Although Nicki has had so much success, i still think Kim and Missy are still The Reigning Queens of Rap & Hip Hop.

  17. TRUTH SERUM February 5, 2015

    This is the equivalent of saying that Vivica Fox birthed Taraji.

    • I STAN(D) FOR TALEN February 6, 2015

      Who that OLD lady that was getting fu[ked by 50 cent who is half her age ain’t nobody tryna be birthed by her. B**** shut up.

  18. Deon February 5, 2015


  19. Yoncè February 6, 2015

    KIM haters always bring up numbers! HARCORE went 2x platinum from recorder label that was just beginning! Nicki got with a hit record label, had the best management & producers, song writers & etc…why wouldn’t she sell?

  20. BOOBIE February 6, 2015

    Thank the HEAVENS Nicki Minaj didn’t get her sales and net worth from Lil Kim!

  21. rayner317 February 6, 2015

    Thanks Taraji…Where are all the Barbs at NOW??? FROM the words of Taraji….Nicki GOT EVERYTHING from LIL KIM….I SEE NO LIES!!

  22. Cedric February 15, 2015

    Yall are so stupid on all levals! Why do it matters how sales this or date b*******! Yall are ranting like your gitting paid! These are all talented people thats doing what the love to do! Whats is your asses doing? Ranting about the ones making millions! Get a life pople and find your own business so people can talk about you! So stupid arguing over people who wipe their asses with cash!

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