Taraji P. Henson and longtime best friend, Tracie Jade Jenkins, will be hosting a new talk show that highlights mental illness for Facebook Watch.
Production for the original series tentatively called â€œPeace of Mind with Taraji” will begin later this year. Henson and Jenkins will focus on the Black community by interviewing experts, everyday people, and celebrities about mental health issues.
Henson is known for her work on â€œEmpireâ€ and “Hidden Figures” while Jenkins serves as the executive director of Hensonâ€™s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. The foundation is named after Hensonâ€™s late father who suffered with mental health issues after serving the country in the Vietnam War.
Facebook Watch to Add Mental Illness Talks to Their Conscious Lineup
In a statement, Henson shared, â€œIâ€™ve long been a mental health advocate for the Black community and created the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 that has provided resources to thousands of people who are struggling. Iâ€™m looking forward to bringing this new talk series to Facebook Watch, where I can continue to create conversation around an issue that is near and dear to my heart.â€
Known for sidelining scripted shows, Facebook Watch focuses on personality-driven and reality programming like â€œPeace of Mind with Taraji,â€ which was recently acquired by the network. Other programs slated to air on the platform include â€œSteve on Watchâ€ (a revival of Steve Harveyâ€™s former talk show) and Jada Pinkett Smith’s â€œRed Table Talkâ€ (one of Facebook Watch’s top-performing original series). â€œRed Table Talk: The Estefans,â€ starring Gloria Estefan, will launch October 7. The show will be produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith owned Westbrook Studios (which also produces Pinkett-Smithâ€™s â€œRed Table Talkâ€).
â€œPeace of Mind with Tarajiâ€ will focus on various mental health topics with multiple episodes dropping weekly, however, a premiere date is yet to be announced.
New Strategy for Facebook Watch
Facebook’s key marketing strategy for their new programming centers around the social media platformâ€™s ability to drive conversation through their community. Facebook Watch execs hope â€œPeace of Mind with Tarajiâ€ will mimic the success of â€œRed Table Talk,” which has a Facebook group of over 2.8 million members.
Mina Lefevre, head of development and programming at Facebook Watch, stated, â€œThe work Taraji has done in the mental health space is inspiring, and weâ€™re thrilled to have her come to our platform to educate and entertain around this incredibly important topic.â€
Facebook has decided to step up to the challenges of mental illness by offering resources and features with broad initiatives for World Mental Health Day on October 10th. Emotional Health, a resource center that will be centralized on the Facebook app will offer information from experts, tips, and mental-health wellness guides on Instagram in collaboration with the Jed Foundation.
Along with Henson and Jenkins, 495 Productions founder/CEO SallyAnn Salsano and Jennifer Ryan will serve as executive producers on the project. â€œPeace of Mind with Tarajiâ€ will be produced by 495 Productions (CMTâ€™s â€œParty Down Southâ€ and MTVâ€™s â€œJersey Shoreâ€) with Ebony McClain as co-executive producer.