Empire: The Hot New TV Series

Karrina Ingram, Guest Reviewer

Empire is the hot new TV series that everyone is talking about. Empire has become so popular that Wednesdays, that day of the week that show airs, are now known as “Empire Wednesdays.” This show is an American drama television show that made its debut on January 7, 2015 on FOX. The show centers around a family that has a successful hip hop music and entertainment company. The show talks about the drama among the founding family of the company who are having a heavy dispute about who will take on the responsibility of running the company in the future. The show was created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong. The main characters of the show are those in the Lyon family: Lucious, Cookie, Jamal, Andre, and Hakeem. There are also supporting roles, such as the characters, Anika, Rhonda, Tiana, Becky, Porsha, Vernon, Michael, and Malcolm. There have also been guest appearances, such as Raven Symone, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Estelle, Jennifer Hudson, and Mary J. Blige.

Taraji P. Henson (Cookie Lyon) is the driving force of the show. She plays the ex-wife of Lucious Lyon. A fun fact about this is while in college, at Howard University, Taraji was actually nicknamed “Cookie.” Terrance Howard’s character Lucious Lyon acts as the commander-in-charge of the company while suffering from ALS. Howard himself has a connection to the music industry as he released a solo album called Shine Through It in 2008. There are three sons in Lyon family: Hakeem, Andre, and Jamal. Hakeem Lyon (played by rapper Bryshere Grey “Yazz the Greatest” in his first acting role) is a spoiled, aspiring rapper on the rise. Andre Lyon (Yale University’s School of Drama graduate Trai Byers who was recently featured in the movie Selma) is constantly scheming different ways to one day take over the company. The middle son of the Lyon family Jamal Lyon is played by Jussie Smollett. Jamal constantly goes head-to-head with his father, because Lucious is homophobic, and Jamal is gay.

Empire embodies a deeply moving, and sometimes disturbing, homophobia storyline. Empire doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to this topic; it tackles it head on. Taraji P. Henson was initially scared about how the audience would react to such a strong topic, but she said, “The fear is here for a reason. And if I’m feeling like this, other people are feeling like this, and if we don’t talk about it, then we’re gonna be a world full of scared people.”

Empire is a show that is very intriguing. I recommend that everyone tune in to the show, if you have not already. The season finale will air on Wednesday, March 18. Also, there will be a season two, which was decided on January 17, 2015.