My Obsession With 'Empire' Explained
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Politics and Activism

My Obsession With 'Empire' Explained

“ Empire" resonates with me because of its power to grip our America's heart--Black and White. It transcends.”

My Obsession With 'Empire' Explained
TV Guide

It was its glamor and sophistication. Or the swag that came from those Louis Vuitton shoes and its designer million dollar wardrobe. I even thought maybe it could be the sound of Timbaland's sweet beats that ring through my ears every Wednesday night and stay forever embedded in my heart. But maybe what Empire Boo Boo Kitty said: "the beauty of 'Empire' is you never know what's going to happen."

Strong actors such as Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard won several Best Actor/Actress awards from the Emmy’s, Golden Globe, and Critics Choice Television Awards and were nominated for countless others. Most notably, “Empire” was awarded with Program of the Year during its first year running. That is not only rare, but profound. All of these accomplishments could have only been achieved by having the platform that they did, and used it wisely. With such a strong platform and track record of success, they are able to feature multiple successful and dynamic guest actors and actresses such as Jennifer Hudson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg, Estelle, and Chris Rock.

What “Empire” has done is something that has never been done: force the predominantly white audience of FOX to swallow the uncomfortable pill of a struggle that occurs in America. Black America, that is. Yeah, many people say it's layered with countless negative Black stereotypes, but these so-called stereotypes reflect a reality, and the show itself is a soap opera in which it dramatizes that reality further. It is an entertainment show after all, but it has a foundation of realness.

The hood is uncomfortable for a lot of people, but behind Luscious’ intense encounters with the lives he has taken or the drama of Boo Boo Kitty or even a sassy remark from Cookie, they also show Cookie’s severe depression of sacrificing over half of her life in prison for the ones she loved, seeing you come from undesirable circumstances and making greatness happen, homophobia, fame’s desire of corruption, and for thrusting Black individuals from the hood into a million-dollar, glamorous lifestyle. Wealthy and successful is how you describe the Lyon family, and that for a family under similar conditions cannot say the same for themselves. So what happens to this family form the hood when they reach fame and better yet a sense of freedom? Well, “Empire” is that reality (to a certain extent).

I love "Empire" because of that unique rawness. Because "Empire" never refuses to take risks. The people behind "Empire" too know that they have a responsibility to change the game for Black TV in America. I think the most important reason why "Empire" resonates with me is because of its power to grip our America's heart as well, Black and White and everything else alike. It transcends. Whites and even Blacks as well as other races don’t always understand this spectrum of America, but they enjoy watching a come up from it. It’s a success story, a rags-to-riches story, a new story. Black people can be successful from the hood and struggle and succeed. People like seeing Blacks when they’re successful and when they’ve hit big, but the work behind it isn’t always pretty, and it humbles us as their viewers. It also captivates those viewers, and there are a LOT of viewers.

Cookie is a personification of Empire’s glamor, and rawness because she has the swagger, glamor and nuance of New York women to be strong, ruthless, and undeniably controversial. People don’t always like what she has to say, but they respect what she says because Cookie’s character has never purposefully wanted to do something that didn’t have honest intentions behind it. She says the truth so easily and carefree that it makes people uncomfortable, and that’s exactly what “Empire” is doing.

“Empire” is successful in its own right, and differs from “Scandal” and “Power” in complex ways. But that’s OK, because the whole Black population isn’t the same either.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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