Out with the old and in with the new! Taraji P. Henson is officially replacing comedian/actor/talk show host, Steve Harvey, as the new host of BET’s Celebration of Gospel:Forward In Faith. Harvey hosted this spirited celebration for 13 years and Taraji is set to breathe new life into the star-studded show. R&B and Gospel stars will raise the praise together as BET reimagines one of its most viewed programs. The powers that be at BET say Henson’s effervescent personality and quick wit are a few qualities that make her a perfect fit for the job.
This isn’t Taraji’s first time hosting. She hosted BET’s Soul Train Awards in 2010 with “Hustle & Flow” co-star, Terrence Howard, so we know she’s got the chops to carry an entire show. Taraji says that anyone who knows her, knows how much she truly loves the Lord, so hosting this Celebration of Gospel was organic and an automatic yes! #TeamBeautiful recently caught up with the “Think Like A Man Too” actress and she basically went to church during our chat, enlightening us on how she continues to walk by faith and not by sight, how she stays grounded in Hollywood and how important gospel is to her life.
HelloBeautiful: What made you want to host the gospel celebration?
Taraji P. Henson: You don’t say no to God, girl [laughs]. It’s a well-established celebration for 14 years. Steve Harvey turned it up. It already has a following. I was honored and blessed and surprised. Not surprised that they picked me, well, kinda. If you follow me on Twitter and if you know me, you know that I love the Lord, so that’s no secret. So, when I met with the producers, it just felt like the perfect marriage. It just felt like God said, “Here.”
HB: Who are some of the performers we should be looking out for?
TPH: All of the performances are going to blow you away. I think they did an amazing job pairing the secular artists with the gospel singers, like India.Arie does an amazing duet with this up-and-coming gospel singer and he plays the guitar. I can’t remember his name; it’s just beautiful. The pairings they did was absolutely amazing. Charlie Wilson performed with Richard Smallwood. It’s just gonna blow you away. Charlie Wilson’s testimony is gonna have you shouting in your living room!
HB: Was that your favorite moment from the show?
TPH: I guess it was because he actually goes into a testimonial. It’s something to witness. He had people dancing in the aisles [laughs]. Amazing.
HB: Is there a particular scripture or Bible verse that has stuck with you for your life?
TPH: You know what it is, whenever I have an issue or problem in my life, I always go to the book of Psalms. There’s always something there that speaks to my issues, to my problems. The book of Psalms is where my head is all the time. I just wake up and flip through and it’s usually the one I pick, it’s like, ‘God, really?’
HB: Do you have a spiritual mantra?
TPH: I just say, ‘God is..”’ because at any moment, when I wake up, God is…
HB: Is that a sentence you complete or is it just God is?
TPH: It’s just ‘God is.’ And, then I let that moment be. If it’s hell I witness or a horrible accident, it’s just, ‘God is.’ God is right here. God is right now.
HB: Do you have a favorite Gospel artist or song?
TPH: Right now it’s Erica Campbell’s “I Need A Little More Jesus.” That song just does something to me. “Break Every Chain” is a beautiful song. It speaks to just having faith, you could break every chain. Just have faith.
HB: What was a time you remember when you’re faith was tested and how did you get through that?
TPH: My faith is tested everyday in small ways. It doesn’t have to be in big ways. My faith is tested everyday and that’s when I go into, ‘God is.’ I went all day yesterday thinking I was having a great day, but then that Devil likes to rear his head when you get comfortable, don’t he? I let him know, I see you and I say, ‘God is.’
HB: How do you stay grounded in Hollywood with so many things that can lead you into temptation and disrupt your path?
TPH: I have a son who I have to be an example for. He’s becoming a young man now. He’ll be 20 in May. I can’t believe it. I surround myself. I still have the same friends I had in high school. My best friend has been my friend for 30 years. We’ve been best friends since we were 12 and I have another friend who’s been my friend since we were 18. Her and her husband are my son’s godparents. I also have a girlfriend who’s been my best friend since college at Howard University.
Those are my girls. They keep me grounded. They don’t care if I work again. They don’t call me, talking about Hollywood stuff. They call to check on me. They say, ‘Girl, I hear you, but I can’t wait to see you so I could look into your eyes and make sure you good.’ They’ve got me no matter what.
I have an incredible family. They don’t ask me for nothing. They don’t want nothing. They just want me to be alright. They’re so proud of me. I surround myself with real people that keep me grounded. If I got home and started acting Hollywood or weird, they would check me on it. They check me right away. I love my family and I get to go home and kick it and not be Taraji, the celebrity. I get to be T.J. I thank God everyday for that because I know some people don’t have it.