‘Empire’ actress Taraji P. Henson says son was racially profiled at USC


Actress Taraji P. Henson said in a magazine interview that her son was racially profiled and stopped by police on the sprawling campus for having his hands in his pockets.

In an interview with Uptown magazine, the “Empire” star said she was planning to enroll her 20-year-old son, Marcel Henson, into USC before he was stopped by police. But now, Henson said her son will be going to Howard University, her alma mater.

Henson told the magazine she’s “not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering, ‘Is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus?’”


John Thomas, chief of USC Department of Public Safety, said that while it’s not clear which police agencies were involved, allegations of bias or unequal treatment by campus police would trigger an investigation.

“I was deeply disturbed to read news reports about a prospective student who felt profiled on or near campus because of his race,” he said in a statement.

He said the university encourages people to report allegations of bias. He also wants to talk with Henson and her son.

“I would like to look into this matter further and better understand who was involved and what took place,” he said. “As someone who personally experienced racial profiling as a teenager, I have a stake in learning more about this incident and doing all I can to reach a just resolution.”

The Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated actress also said her son was profiled in Glendale, where he was stopped by police. She told the magazine her son followed police orders even though they allegedly searched his car illegally.

In the end, Henson said her son never got a ticket for what they stopped him for.


In January, Henson tweeted about her son’s history with profiling.

Racial profiling is VERY REAL!!! It has happened to me but to my son more and he is only 20!!! Something needs to be done. #SERIOUSLY,” she said.

Following reports about her comments, Henson took to Twitter on Monday to say, “I really don’t care what ppl think about what I do with MY LIFE AND ALL INVOLVED WITH ME!!!!! Give it a rest.”

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