Only a few days after Taraji P. Henson claimed that her son had been racially profiled by police at the University of Southern California, the university has released a statement claiming they hope to look further into the incident and “reach a just resolution.”
The realities of racism thriving on college campuses has been shoved into the national spotlight after other Black leaders and celebrities opened up about how their children encountered racial profiling even while at college. All the while, the video of a racist fraternity chant was busy setting the Internet ablaze.
Henson’s claims were among the latest to be added to the ever-expanding list of parents concerned about the safety of their Black sons as the Empire star revealed in an interview with Uptown Magazine that her son was racially profiled while visiting the USC campus.
She added that that incident is exactly what drove her to enroll her son at an HBCU rather than allow him to attend the university that has already made headlines in the past for racist incidents and hate crimes unfolding on its campus.
Henson’s story sparked outrage from many and even led to the National Action Network urging the university to look into the matter and investigate their own police department.
Many people started supporting the push for an investigation and now, it seems, their wish may be granted.
Chief John Thomas of USC’s Department of Public Safety released a statement assuring the public that the university will look into the matter but needs some additional information from the actress or her son about what exactly happened and who was involved.
“I was deeply disturbed to read news reports about a prospective student who felt profiled on or near campus because of his race,” Thomas said. “We encourage reporting of allegations of bias and I hope for the opportunity to have a conversation with the young man and his mother.”
Thomas added that at this point the university is unclear of “which police departments” were involved in the racial profiling of Henson’s son, nor do they have many details about what exactly happened.
Either way, he promised that he is dedicated to “learning more about this incident” and doing everything he can to “reach a just resolution” for all parties involved.
“It is my expectation and that of the university that our department uphold the highest standards of constitutional policing, affording equal rights and respect to all person,” Thomas concluded in the statement.
Henson has not yet publicly responded to the statement and it is unclear if she will be working with investigators to provide more details about her son’s alleged encounter with police.
Meanwhile, things may finally be looking up for Henson’s love life—maybe.
At least, it sure seems like Tyrese Gibson hopes so.
Gibson recently opened up about the impact of his breakout role in Baby Boy, a film that has long been celebrated for the stunning chemistry between Gibson and his co-star Henson.
It’s been 14 years since the pair’s chemistry helped launch the film to great success, but Gibson says their relationship is just as strong now as it was back then.
“That’s my baby,” he said of Henson. “We always get together for lunches and dinners and connect. I’m always at her house, she’s at my house. It’s love. I’m very, very honored to tell the world we’re still family and we still connect and hang out beyond that ‘Baby Boy’ set.”
As much as he gushed about the actress, the pair isn’t romantically tied.
Gibson cleared the air and noted that he and Henson have “never dated” although they sometimes greet each other with a kiss.
He also made it very clear though that he is open to taking his relationship with Henson beyond a friendship.
“But I don’t look at her like a sister,” he added. “I don’t look at her like somebody I wouldn’t date. We just haven’t dated. I’m just letting you know, Taraji is not in the friends zone.”
Gibson also shared his joy for Henson and added that he is elated that Empire turned out to be such a great success.
Henson, yet again, has not responded to the comments but she did recently appear on the Steve Harvey Show and opened up about her love life, or lack thereof.
Perhaps Henson’s famous talk-show host pal could work his match-making magic to make one of the film world’s favorite couples a reality.