Taraji P. Henson Is Joining the Cast of ‘Abbott Elementary’ as Janine’s Mom

Taraji P. Henson.
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

As if we didn't already love Abbott Elementary enough, Taraji P. Henson is officially joining the cast of the hit ABC sitcom. Oh, and she'll be playing the long-awaited role of Janine's mother, Vanetta.

The news was revealed this past weekend at the annual PaleyFest in Los Angeles. Henson appeared at the festival in a pre-recorded video, where she announced that she will make an appearance on the April 12 episode of Abbott, titled “Mom.” According to US Weekly, Henson said, “I was so exited to join Quinta [Brunson] and the amazing cast!”

Throughout Abbott Elementary, Janine Teagues (Brunson) has struggled with her relationship with her mother. But in the first two seasons, the maternal figure didn’t make an on-screen appearance. This is the second member of Janine's family to make an appearance in season 2, after her sister, Ayesha (played by The Bear's Ayo Edebiri), made a cameo in the episode “Teacher Appreciation.”

Per Variety, “Mom” features Janine embarking on a solo trip for Memorial Day weekend. However, when her mother, Vanetta (Henson), shows up asking for help, her plans get derailed. This will be the 21st episode of season 2, and it will be the penultimate episode before the season finale airs on April 19.

abbott hero
ABC/Matt Sayles

Henson's transformation can be seen in this photo that was posted to the official Abbott Elementary Twitter account.

In the photo, Henson and Brunson are smiling side-by-side on the set of the show, and the Empire actress is seen decked out in a fuzzy teal coat and a pink patterned skirt. The caption of the post read: “About that episode titled "mom" you saw earlier... @tarajiphenson.”

This casting gets an A+ from us.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...