Terrence Dashon Howard, born March 11, 1969, is an American actor and singer. He is briefly known for his role as an older Jackie Jackson in Jacksons: An American Dream, and his first role in Mr. Holland's Opus. He has offered many roles in films such as Hustle and Flow, Winnie, Ray, Lackawanna Blues, Four Brothers and more.
He has also released his first album, Shine Through It, in 2008. He portrays the main character, Lucious Lyon, in Empire.
Howard was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Anita Jeanine Williams and Tyrone Howard. His maternal great-grandmother, Minnie Gentry, was a stage actress, as were his mother and uncles. Both of his parents were African American, and also had European American lineage; he also experienced racism in his childhood.
His father was involved in what has been termed the Santa Line Slaying (1971), serving eleven months in prison on manslaughter charges after stabbing another man to death. At the age of 16, Howard emancipated himself from his parents and was put on welfare; at 18, he moved to New York City to focus on his acting career.