I covered Taraji P. Henson’s Uptown cover and interview last week – go here to read. The photoshoot was amazing and I thought Taraji’s interview was interesting too. But one part caused some controversy, for various reasons. Taraji was talking about her son, Marcel, who is college-aged. Taraji said she was making him transfer to Howard University, a historically black college/university (HBCU) in the heart of Washington, DC (which is also where Taraji grew up).
“My child has been racially profiled. He was in Glendale, California and did exactly everything the cops told him to do, including letting them illegally search his car. It was bogus because they didn’t give him the ticket for what he was pulled over for. Then he’s at University of Southern California, the school that I was going to transfer him to, when police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets. So guess where he’s going? Howard University. I’m not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus.”
Some people were offended that HBCUs still exist (really?) and some other people called the whole “racially profiled by the cops” thing into question. USC’s Department of Public Safety even made a statement about Taraji’s comments, with the chief of campus police asking for more information about what went down. The Los Angeles Times got into it too, and they ended up getting their hands on the dash-cam video of Marcel’s stop by the police – you can see the video here. It actually seems like the police officer went out of his way to cite Marcel with a lesser charge rather than a moving violation.
So, as it turns out, Taraji’s son was not really racially profiled. He was pulled over for a routine violation and the cop was sort of nice to him. Surprisingly, Taraji is now publicly admitting that she was wrong and she overreacted. She posted her apology to her Instagram, writing:
“I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department. A mother’s job is not easy and neither is a police officer’s. Sometimes as humans WE overreact without gathering all of the facts. As a mother in this case I overreacted and for that I apologize. Thank you to that officer for being kind to my son.”
You know what I think happened? I think Marcel came home and told his mom what happened, only he spun the story to make it sound like he had done nothing wrong and he got busted for no reason other than his skin color. And Taraji believed her son. Then when the video came out, Taraji watched it and realized that Marcel had spun the story/lied outright. So she ended up taking the heat and apologizing. So… yeah, I’m still #TeamTaraji. I even like her more for owning up to her mistake and apologizing. Ooooh, I bet Marcel is in TROUBLE.
Photos courtesy of Instagram, WENN.