Taraji P. Henson arrives on the red carpet for the 67th Annual Directors Guild Awards in Century City, Calif., on Feb. 7, 2015. 

Taraji P. Henson apparently protects her son in real life just as Cookie, her engaging character on Fox’s Empire series, fiercely protects her sons.

In the February/March issue of  Uptown magazine, Henson recalls how her 20-year-old son was once profiled by police at the University of Southern California. After that, she says, she found a way to reduce the chances of that happening again: getting him to enroll at an HBCU.

“My child has been racially profiled,” she tells Uptown. “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.”

No wonder Henson knows how to play her role as Cookie, who is fiercely protective of her three sons on the Fox drama.

Read more at Uptown magazine.