Sunday night, Taraji P. Henson will return to host the 2022 BET Awards for the second year in a row. Taking place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles June 26, the annual award show has been dubbed “Culture’s biggest night,” and Henson couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it.

“No matter how big I get in my career, no matter how high my star may rise, I will never forget my community,” the Academy Award-nominated actress tell ESSENCE. “The community is who told Hollywood, ‘Hey, pay attention to her.’ Where would I be without my community? I mean as many times as they play Baby Boy?,” she adds joking. “It’s home for me you know what I mean?”

BET is home to Henson is more ways than one. In April it was announced that the Minions star struck a deal with the network to develop premium TV and film content under her company TPH Entertainment that champions Black culture. That commitment to serving African American audiences is “why I did my deal there,” Henson explains. “I was sick and tired of going to places and being tolerated. I wanted to be where the work and my ideas were going to be celebrated and not just sit on a shelf.”

Known for championing Black women specifically — especially at award shows — Henson shares that after celebrating sisterhood at last year’s BET Awards, this year more attention will be paid to brotherhood.

“Where would we be without our men?” Taraji states. “This year I kind of want to shift the focus and lift them up and give them the love they so need and deserve.”

Check out our full interview with Taraji P. Henson on all this BET Awards in the video above. The show will air LIVE, Sunday, June 26 on BET at 8 pm ET.

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