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Here are some highlights from the conversation: On going From Electrical Engineering to Acting – What had happened was I auditioned for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in the tenth grade, and I didn’t get accepted. When it was time to go to college I knew I had to go to school, so I just said electrical engineering because it sounded like I could make a lot of money. One day, I walked passed and they had an audition for a play and I was like ‘I’m gonna do it.’ And I got my monologue, and I remember standing on that stage and the only thing I kept hearing in my head was ‘No’.

I was nervous and my hands were shaking, it was horrible.

On Growing Up – I grew up in the hood and I wasn’t the coolest. I wanted to show girls that just because you got pregnant in college, does not mean you have to stop.

If anything, having my son motivated me to go to California and pursue my dreams, because if I didn’t, what am I teaching him?

"Black women are in market failure," says writer Karyn Langhorne Folan.

Single black women with college degrees outnumber single black men with college degrees almost 3 to 1 in major urban areas such as Washington, according to a 2008 population survey by the U. It's Econ 101 for the single, educated black woman.

Here are some of the highlights, and Shadow and Act attended. I thought that meant I could not act, so I stopped acting. On Fear – When I was at A&T I had to pass the fine arts building to get to my English Class.

Henson as baby mama Yvette to Tyrese Gibson's immature father Jody in "Baby Boy." It's a character that is never too far behind her because it was her first big break in the industry eight years ago. And I remember when he called me the day after the Oscars telling me about this script and he was like, Madea's gonna be in the film, and I was like I love it, I love her. In “Hustle and Flow," there was a character with a different set of issues. You just have to really love yourself enough to be able to walk away, to not put the responsibility of you in other people's hands, take responsibility for yourself.

But over the last few years Henson has had the opportunity to be more than a baby mama, particularly as her turn as the adoptive mother to Brad Pitt's Benjamin Button in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"--which gained her a Academy Award nomination. I just missed that because you get in the industry and they bow down to you, they want to put shoes on your feet and make you feel like you're this and you're that. I really wanted to get back to the basics, and I really enjoy the way that he works. And plus, she's the only Black woman that can open a film. In "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" your character had an inherent sadness. It's in the why the person ended up the way they did. There's always somebody who can identify with the characters that I portray. It may sound selfish, but you have to put yourself first.

Henson caught Hollywood’s attention with her role in Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow, in which she played Shug, a pregnant prostitute whose sweetness and purity wins over Terrence Howard’s pimp heart.

That role led to an Oscar-nominated performance in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button as Brad Pitt’s sharp-tongued, unconditionally loving surrogate mother.


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