Tariji P. Henson Joins “Abbott Elementary” as Janine’s Mom

Revealed today at PaleyFest LA, Tariji P. Henson is joining the cast of ABC’s Abbott Elementary in a major guest role.

What’s Happening:

  • According to The Hollywood Reporter, Henson (Empire) will play Janine’s (Quinta Brunson) mom, Vanetta.
  • The Emmy-nominated actress’ first appearance on the award-winning show will be in season two’s penultimate episode, airing on April 12th.
  • The episode, appropriately titled “Mom,” will see Brunson’s Janine preparing to take a solo trip over Memorial Day weekend. Her plans get derailed when her mom, played by Henson, appears unannounced and asks for help.

  • Henson’s casting was revealed at the Paley Center for Media’s PaleyFest in Los Angeles on Saturday during an Abbott Elementary panel, which featured stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter, Tyler James Wiliams and William Stanford Davis in person.
  • The hit comedy’s Janelle James and Chris Perfetti appeared via Zoom from New York, with Brunson sending a pre-taped message, as she prepares to host Saturday Night Live.
  • Henson’s character will be the latest member of Janine’s family to appear in this season, as The Bear star Ayo Edibiri appeared earlier in season two as Ayesha, Janine’s sister.

  • Abbott Elementary airs on ABC every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET, streaming the next day on Hulu.
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