Why Taraji P. Henson is the ‘SNL’ host we’ve been waiting for

We’re all collectively trying to recover from our Empire hangover – that two-hour season finale was a wild ride from start to finish, not to mention we’re all mourning the fact that there won’t be any new episodes coming up. That being said, it looks like NBC has come to our rescue – because they’ve just announced that Taraji P. Henson (who plays fierce queen-of-our-hearts Cookie Lyon) will be hosting Saturday Night Live on April 11 with musical guest Mumford & Sons.

We’re beyond excited about this news – and not just because we adore Taraji in everything she does. There are several reasons why we’re going to be counting down the remaining days until April 11.

She’s definitely got the comedic chops.

We all know how hilarious she is on Empire – the sheer number of quality one-liners that come from the mouth of Cookie are endless. Not only is she able to pull off scripted lines with the greatest of ease, but you can find any number of candid interviews on YouTube where she’s leaving everyone laughing. We just know she’ll bring that perfect comedic timing to the SNL stage, and we’re also partly hoping that she’ll just manage to make one of the veteran cast members break.

She can play a variety of characters.

Take a look at this lady’s career and it’s living proof that she can play any number of strong female characters – each one as different as the next. From her role opposite Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to her most recent pre-Empire stint in Person of Interest, it’s clear that she throws herself into any part she plays. When it comes to SNL, she’ll have to take on a different character every ten minutes, but we’re looking forward to seeing just how much she’ll commit.

She’s got a gorgeous singing voice.

Just because Cookie hasn’t gotten an opportunity to show off her musical chops on Empire doesn’t mean we won’t witness some epic singing from Taraji on SNL. She’s lent her talent in films like Hustle and Flow and I Can Do Bad All By Myself, and in 2011 she signed a record deal with an undisclosed label. If there’s one thing we know about SNL, it’s that sometimes it draws on its host’s array of talents when picking and choosing what skits to use. Fingers crossed that at least one of them will give Taraji an opportunity to belt it out – at least until season two of Empire comes back around.

She’ll be the 10th black woman to host SNL in 40 years.

It’s true that SNL has incorporated some much-needed diversity into their cast over the last couple of years, but when it comes to their hosts, there’s been a disturbing lack of women of color. When Taraji steps up to host, she’ll be the 10th black woman to have hosted SNL in its 40-year history, joining the ranks alongside such actresses as Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, Kerry Washington and her Empire co-star, Gabourey Sidibe. It’s hopefully a sign that the show is continuing to make strides in the representation not just among their players but among the celebrities they’re bringing in.

Congratulations, Taraji, and break a leg! We’ll all be tuning in to watch you do your thing – which, essentially, means just being your fabulous self.

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