- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Flipboard
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
Taraji P. Henson is joining Abbott Elementary.
The Emmy-nominated actress will play Janine’s (Quinta Brunson) mom, Vanetta. The Empire star’s first appearance on the award-winning show will be in season two’s penultimate episode, airing on April 12.
The episode, appropriately titled “Mom,” will see Brunson’s Janine preparing to take a solo trip over Memorial Day weekend. Her plans get derailed when her mom, played by Henson, appears unannounced and asks for help.
Henson’s casting was revealed at the Paley Center for Media’s PaleyFest in Los Angeles on Saturday during an Abbott Elementary panel, which featured stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter, Tyler James Wiliams and William Stanford Davis in person. The hit comedy’s Janelle James and Chris Perfetti appeared via Zoom from New York, with Brunson sending a pre-taped message, as she prepares to host Saturday Night Live.
Henson joins a string of guest stars to appear on Abbott Elementary as part of Janine’s family, with the show sharing more background on all of its characters. The Bear star Ayo Edibiri appeared earlier in season two as Ayesha, Janine’s sister. The teacher’s strained relationship with her family has been touched on in past episodes, with Ayesha and Janine working through their issues.
“I think relationships with mothers are very defining, especially for someone who is then taking care of children — like Janine, who’s caring for kids,” Brunson told Reuters in September 2022. “It connects a lot to her relationships in the school. I know a lot of women in my life who have had very complicated relationships with their moms unfortunately.”
Abbott Elementary airs on ABC every Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
‘Cruel Summer’ EP Jessica Biel on Reliving Y2K Nostalgia in Season 2: “We Didn’t Realize How Cool It Was”
‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’ Director on Uncovering an “Underbelly of Corruption, Greed and Powers of Social Control”
How ‘Queen Charlotte’ Star Arsema Thomas Prepared for the Role of Young Lady Danbury: “I Needed to Call Upon the Women in My Life”