Terrence Howard warble voice supercut: The actor’s shaky delivery, from The Best Man to Empire (VIDEO).

The Evolution of Terrence Howard’s “Warble Voice”

The Evolution of Terrence Howard’s “Warble Voice”

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Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 11 2015 8:02 AM

The Evolution of Terrence Howard’s “Warble Voice”


If you’ve watched any number of movies or TV shows featuring Terrence Howard over the last few years, you've probably noticed that one of his acting “tics” involves a shaky, gravel-voiced line-reading. This is typically deployed when his character feels particularly passionate about something, and it’s only become more pronounced in his current scenery-chewing role as Lucious Lyons on the soapy melodrama Empire.

So we’ve traced the evolution of Howard’s “warble voice”—from The Best Man to his Oscar-nominated turn in Hustle & Flow, all the way up through Empire, his warbliest role ever.

Aisha Harris is a Slate culture writer and host of the Slate podcast Represent.

Chris Wade is a New York-based video and audio producer and an occasional contributor to Brow Beat.