Taraji P. Henson has launched a new foundation in honor of her late father to fight the stigma and bring awareness to mental health issues within the African-American community.
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF), named after her late father, will partner with other organizations who offer mental health services in order to provide education and even services within the prison system.
For Henson, this is all in honor of the life and struggle that her father, a Vietnam war veteran, endured.
“I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues,” she said in a statement.
“My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support,” Henson continued. “I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African-Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are Black.”
Boris Henson died in 2006 after battling liver cancer. He was 58.
During a 2016 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Henson shared more about what her father had to overcome after returning from war.
“My father, he was homeless,” she said. “He served in the military. He was a police officer. He battled with his demons just like all humans do, but my father didn’t hide it from me.”
The foundation will launch with a special fundraiser, “Taraji’s Boutique of Hope,” with the goal of raising funds to support one of the foundation’s pillar goals of providing resources to increase mental health support in urban schools.
“Taraji’s Boutique of Hope” will take place in Beverly Hills on September 22.