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“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson poses for the “NOH8″ campaign in a newly released photo. Check out Taraji”s pic inside and find out why John Legend is boycotting the Bevely Hills Hotel.

Taraji P. Henson (whom we LOVE as Cookie Lyons) adds her name and likeness to the growing list of celebs taking a stand with the N0H8 campaign. “NOH8”, a non-profit organization that promotes marriage, gender and human equality, has linked with the cast of “Empire” to bring awareness to the rights of the LGBT community and to end homophobia.

During a recent talk with VOGUE Magazine, Taraji opened up about playing Cookie and her relationship with Jamal, her gay son.

VOGUE: Your character’s relationship with her gay son, Jamal, is really beautiful. When Cookie defends him so passionately from his rejecting dad, where did those emotions come from?

TARAJI: Once a mother; always a mother. I’m a mother in real life, so I don’t have to act. When it’s time to protect our child, as parents, we feel our kid’s pain harder than they do. I tried to explain that to my son. The closest he came to understanding was through his relationship with our dog. He said, I feel that way about Willy. We carry them for nine months. I could only imagine having a child that a father rejects.

I feel like Lucious rejects him out of fear. When he puts Jamal in the trash can, he wanted to throw him away before the world threw him away. He wanted to hide his son from everyone—the ugliness of being a black gay male to the world. Fear will do anything, and Cookie understands the pain on both sides. Cookie is never going to hate her child for being who he is, but she fears for his life, too, because he’s gay and black. It’s deep.

Make sure you check out Taraji on “Empire”, Wednesdays at pm CT.

Here’s another activist….

“All Of Me” Singer John Legend (shown with wife Chrissy at the Dick Gregory & Friends Tribute and Toast at The Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood last night) has joined the list of celebs who are boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel after the hotel’s owner, Brunei leader Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, instituted a new penal code that includes capital punishment for same-sex acts in his home country.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a party honoring John (thrown by L.A. Confidential) was scheduled for February 5th, but John backed out. In a statement released by his spokeswoman Amanda Silverman, the singers notes Brunei’s anti-woman and anti-gay policies for his no-show.

“These policies, which among other things could permit women and LGBT Bruneians to be stoned to death, are heinous and certainly don’t represent John’s values or the spirit of the event. John does not, in any way, wish to further enrich the Sultan while he continues to enforce these brutal laws.”

In should be noted, Alison Miller, L.A. Confidential’s publisher, argued that the magazine “is an avid supporter of equal rights for all people,” and their decision to throw the party in the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom “in no way suggests that we support any anti-human rights policies.”

John is joined by Ellen DeGeneres, Anna Wintour, and Jay Leno on the list of Hollywood liberals who’ve vowed not to visit the Beverly Hills Hotel or other hotels in the Dorchester Collection.

Photos via Splash/Taraji’s Instagram

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