taraji p henson (entertainer of the year)

*USA TODAY has named “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson Entertainer of the Year, adding to the many accolades the actress has received for her portrayal as sassy Cookie Lyon on the hit FOX hip hop drama.

Taraji expressed her gratitude for the Entertainer of the Year honor through Twitter, writing: “WOOOOOOOW!!!! Thank you @usatoday so honored!!! #WhatAYear #MoreToCome cause #GodIs and that is all that I know!”

Cookie Lyon has given Taraji widespread recognition and critical acclaim, with TIME naming her the most influential fictional character, a role which has earned Henson a 2016 Golden Globe nod.

“Who thought Cookie would bring me this kind of notoriety? This is the type of character that people judge — she went to jail she sold drugs. But what happens? (People) run to her? Blows me away every time. That goes to show people like real,” Taraji explained while hosting Saturday Night Live in April.

Henson also explained how she’s anxious for “Empire” to explore Cookie’s back story, particularly her jail time.

“Seventeen years and to still come out with your sanity, you didn’t lose yourself, that’s a strong — what planet is she from? I want to know more about that. I want to get in the cell with her and those moments she was lonely and no one came to visit. Like, I want to see that. We talk about it, but it would be good to see it in the flashback.”

Taraji’s next move will be flexing her muscles as a producer, as well as paving the way for younger actors.

“I’m trying to capitalize on the success and get more business,” she says. “I’m looking to create more opportunities for other young artists coming up behind me, because I can’t do this forever.”