Season 2 of Abbott Elementary is becoming all about family, as the show has cast another key relative of Janine’s. Per Variety, Taraji P. Henson is the newest guest star to join the series. She will appear in the April 12 episode, entitled “Mom,” and will play Vanetta, Janine’s mother. Following the announcement, the show’s Twitter account shared a behind-the-scenes photo of Henson with Quinta Brunson (Janine).
“Mom” will mark the penultimate episode of Season 2 and will follow Janine as she plans a solo trip for Memorial Day. However, her plans are soon upended after Vanetta arrives, unannounced, asking for help. Meanwhile, Gregory (Tyler James Williams) will be focusing on his people skills. Vanetta’s arrival on the series will also be the second time viewers meet a member of Janine’s family, following the introduction of her sister Ayesha (Ayo Edebiri). Though the two won’t be on screen together, we do know that Vanetta and Ayesha have a taut relationship that Janine often finds herself caught in the middle of.
Prior to her guest appearance on Abbott, Henson has starred in several notable projects throughout her career. On the television side, she’s well-known for starring as Cookie in FOX’s series Empire, which ran from 2015-2020. More recently, Henson lent her voice to Minions: The Rise of Gru and previously voice acted for The Simpsons, Ralph Breaks the Internet, and more. Some of her other standout projects include her roles in Hidden Figures, The Best of Enemies, and I Can Do Bad All by Myself, among others.