Taraji P. Henson visited Kevin Hart as a guest of his new talk show Hart To Heart to discuss mental health in the Black community and received the comedian’s commitment to donate $100,000 to her organization.
The Think Like A Man costars held a candid, yet comedic conversation about Henson’s efforts launching The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF). Named after the 50-year-old actress’ late father, she revealed she began the mental health organization when searching for a therapist.
“I started the foundation because when I was looking for a therapist for myself and my son it was hard,” she explained. “I called my best friend, who runs my foundation, Tracie Jenkins… Oh you never, you know you never made that donation? But we’ll get back to that,” she lightheartedly digressed.
She continued, “So anyway, but I’m on your show and I do everything you ask me to do.”
“How much did I say I was going to give to you?” asked the Fatherhood actor.
“Why would you ask? Better be glad I didn’t say a million ’cause I know you got it,” Henson joked back. The banter concluded with the 42-year-old host declining a $1 million donation but confirming a gift of $100,000.
“Taraji, whatever you need from me, you have. I will give you $100,000,” calmly stated the normally boisterous star.
The two continued their conversation on mental health and how it relates to Black people and other marginalized communities.
“I started it because I knew that I was having an issue trying to find a therapist. I’m privileged, I have money,” shared the Empire star. “Imagine all the millions of people of color that can’t—but not even don’t. We don’t talk about it!”
Hart added, “It’s frowned upon in our community and our culture for some reason. I don’t know why. It’s never fully supported from the jump.”
Henson responded, “It’s deep for us. You’re talking about over 400 years of oppression. So you’re talking about trauma that Black people have learned to normalize.”
The Washington, D.C. native’s father was a military veteran who suffered from mental health challenges including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and manic depression. Henson founded the organization in his honor in 2018. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the BLHF has launched an effort to provide free therapy for those in need.
According to the website, the Free Virtual Therapy Support Campaign raised funds to provide mental health services from licensed clinicians in their network to individuals with life-changing stressors and anxiety due to the troubling events caused by COVID-19.
In 2020, the initiative covered free therapy for more than 3,300 individual sessions and approximately 850 participants, of which 45 percent were new to therapy. The Mental Wellness Support program aims to increase that number by 20 percent in 2021.
The new talk show, where Hart and his celebrity guests chat and enjoy a glass of wine, premiered on Aug. 5. Guests on Hart to Heart have included Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Kimmel, Kelly Clarkson, Cameron Diaz, and a hilarious appearance by Don Cheadle.
“There’s something powerful that happens when two people sit down together for a conversation, and ‘Hart to Heart’ is about capturing that magic,” said the 42-year-old funny man in a statement on the show.