Do not believe people when they say that “it is just television” because, nine times out of ten, it is always deeper than that. In the case of Fox Network’s new hip hop drama “Empire,” there is absolutely more to that story. In fact, the show’s creator Lee Daniels is not only planning for the show to be successful, but also to send a message.
“Empire” touches on a plethora of heavy subjects that are going on in the African American music industry, including homophobia. Lucious Lyon (Terrance Howard) has three sons that could potentially take over the family’s music business, but he has more hope in his oldest and youngest son because the middle child, Jamal, is gay.
Lyon is against Jamal’s lifestyle, and he constantly encourages him to change it. He even stuffed Jamal in a trashcan when the boy tried on his mother’s high heels as a child. That scene was inspired by the loathing that Daniels says his father harbored towards homosexuals. Daniels suggested that the negative attitudes towards gay people is probably getting passed down from generation to generation, and he wants to share the effects that those attitudes may have on the children.
“Right now we’re seeing people enjoy the culture of America, the culture of the world,” Daniels said. “We’re showing real life now.”
Howard also talked about just how many people can suffer from the negative feelings that society tends to have against homosexuals.
“I’m glad that I can show the African-American community that this is what you’re doing to your son, this is what you’re doing to your nephew, this is what you’re doing to the kid down the street,” he said.
“Empire” has definitely hit home for plenty of the viewers. Jussie Smollet, who plays Jamal, has received a great deal of positive feedback for being a representation to many boys who experience Jamal’s struggle in their everyday lives.
The show is not an average television drama. It is the story of many people in the African American community, and it makes sure to get real and raw with every scene. It is no wonder why it was already approved for a second season.
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