You may be used to seeing Taraji P. Henson dish out snappy one-line comebacks as street-smart matriarch Cookie Lyon on Fox’s “Empire.”
Now, Henson will be co-starring in a much more true-to-life role: honoring everyday folks who dedicate their lives to making their communities a better place.
Henson, along with such other A-list celebrities as Richard Gere and Edie Falco, will turn out to celebrate people working to improve the lives of others through service at the 10th annual “CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute” Sunday.
ABC’s Kelly Ripa will join CNN’s Anderson Cooper as hosts for this special show, which airs live on CNN at 8 p.m. ET from New York’s American Museum of Natural History.
Actors Edward Norton and Neil Patrick Harris will return to present this year’s top 10 CNN Heroes with their awards. Other high-wattage presenters include Liev Schreiber, star of “Ray Donovan”; Octavia Spencer, who stars alongside Henson in the new film “Hidden Figures”; and Diane Lane of “Justice League.” Laurie Hernandez, Olympic gold medalist and current “Dancing with the Stars”champion, will also take part.
“Frozen’s” Idina Menzel will perform “I See You,” a song from her new album, “Idina.”
The 10 CNN Heroes are being honored for a diverse slate of projects.
Jeison Aristizábal’s foundation provides educational and medical services to young people living with disabilities in Colombia.
Craig Dodson started a cycling club for at-risk youth living in Richmond, Virginia, public housing after realizing a pep talk wasn’t enough.
Sherri Franklin’s nonprofit specializes in the adoption of hard-to-place older dogs, often by senior citizens, in San Francisco.
Brad Ludden started a Montana outdoor adventure group to give young cancer patients some “victory” over their disease.
Luma Mufleh founded a school and soccer program for young refugees near Atlanta.
Umra Omar travels a dangerous stretch of Kenya’s coastline offering free medical services to isolated citizens.
Georgie Smith decorates homes for former foster children after they age out of the Los Angeles foster care system.
Sheldon Smith grew up with an absentee father, so he started a Chicago nonprofit to help young dads become positive role models.
Becca Stevens’ nonprofit allows women who’ve battled Nashville street life to live in residential centers at no cost and find gainful employment.
Harry Swimmer turned his North Carolina horse farm into a therapeutic haven for children with severe physical and mental disabilities.
Each top 10 CNN Hero will receive a $10,000 cash prize. One will be named “CNN Hero of the Year” after an audience vote, and receive an additional $100,000 for his or her cause.
Donations made to each Top 10 CNN Hero’s designated nonprofit organization will be matched up to $50,000, starting at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday. CrowdRise, a fundraising flatform co-founded by Edward Norton, will help the CNN Heroes reach matching funds on CrowdRise.com and through their own social outreach.
The Emmy-nominated, Peabody Award-winning “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” has profiled more than 275 heroes and has received over 75,000 nominations from upwards of 100 countries.
Tune in Sunday at 8 p.m. ET and “Like” CNN Heroes on Facebook, follow @CNNHeroes on Twitter, and use hashtag #CNNHeroes to follow the action as it happens. Catch up with celebs and CNN Heroes behind the scenes with the CNN Heroes Instagram account.