Her new movie is called “What Men Want,” but Taraji P. Henson says she has a pretty good idea of what women are looking for from their elected leaders: respect.

“They want to be heard,” Henson said Thursday at the Washington premiere of the film at the Regal Gallery Place theater.

“They just want respect,” Henson said. “They want their words and opinions to be valid. And to be taken with respect like we do when men speak and try to push their agendas.”


In the new comedy — which also stars Tracy Morgan and opens nationwide Friday — Henson plays a sports agent in a male-dominated industry, who suddenly is able to hear men’s thoughts. It's a female-driven, spin on the 2000 Mel Gibson-starring "What Women Want" for the "Me Too" era.

In real life, Henson was one of the few Hollywood performers who predicted back in 2016 that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE had a real shot at winning his White House race against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump thanks 'vicious young Socialist Congresswomen' for his poll numbers Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE.

“I’m not really political, but it’s serious out here,” Henson said at the BET Awards just four months before the 2016 presidential election.

“For those who think he’s not going to win — think again,” said Henson, who appeared in a Clinton campaign ad a month before the election. 

Henson told ITK on Thursday that Trump could “absolutely” win again in 2020.

“If people don’t realize, there’s still a lot of people out there that believe in whatever he’s doing. And we can’t be lazy. We just cannot be lazy,” said the “Empire” star, who grew up in the D.C. area.

“We can’t be like, ‘Oh it’s going to turn.’ No. We need each and every person to make some noise,” she added. “It’s never too late, but we gotta do something about it. We can’t sit complacent watching this ship sink.”

But Henson, 48, said it’s “too early” to get behind any of the potential 2020 Democratic candidates just yet.

While she posted images of Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Schumer throws support behind bill to study reparations MORE (D-N.J.) for her more than 13 million Instagram followers when both lawmakers announced their White House bids, Henson said those messages of support were in honor of Black History Month and “all of the work Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] did.”

“But it wasn’t to say, ‘Hey, I’m voting for them,” Henson said. “It’s just to say, look how far we’ve come.”