Taraji P. Henson Hosts 'Can We Talk' Benefit Dinner To Bring Awareness To Mental Health

Taraji P. Henson hosted the “Can We Talk?” Benefit Dinner on Friday night (June 7th) at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where she spoke on building mental health awareness in the black community. According to ESSENCE, the black-tie event for her Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation honored actress Jenifer Lewis with the first-ever “I Rise” Award for her efforts to combat stigmas around mental illness and seeking mental health. 

During her testimony, Taraji said, “In the African-American community, we don’t deal with mental health issues. We don’t even talk about it. We’ve been taught to pray our problems away. We’ve been demonized for coming out saying we have issues. And we have trust issues.” 

The star-studded event featured Charlamagne Tha God, Morris Chestnut, Traci Braxton, Roz White, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and BLHF Youth Ambassador Isan Elba

On another note, Henson has spoken about mental health with PEOPLE magazine. There, she said, “The suicide rate has taken off. It amazes me that 5-year-olds are contemplating suicide. That’s a word you shouldn’t even understand at five years old. We don’t talk about mental health, we don’t deal with it. For generations, we’ve been told it’s a weakness, to pray our problems away – and that’s just not gonna cut it.”