Like the majority of you, we tuned in to the highly anticipated series premiere of Fox’s new drama series Empire last night. Excited to see Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard reunite for the first time since Hustle and Flow, we watched Empire with an open mind and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. There were rumors circulating for weeks that Empire would nothing more than a television version of Hustle and Flow and a spin off of 5o Cent’s “Power” with heavy influences from Shonda Rhimes‘ TGIT playbook.
Despite much speculation, it was clear at the very beginning that this show would be its own separate beast with enough drama, Hip-Hop homophobia and family issues to keep us glued to our television sets and Twitter accounts for at least a full hour.
We gotta say, the opening scene of Empire felt a little uncomfortable as Howard’s character Lucious was introduced for the very first time. Per usual, Howard nailed the “creepy old man” role and set the stage for Lucious–a shady business man and the owner of the extremely successful Empire Records. We’re then introduced to Howard’s on-screen soul mate and ex-wife, Taraji P. Henson’s character Cookie, an ex-con who has just been released from prison and also happens to be the mother to Lucious’ three boys.
Once Cookie returned home after doing a 17-year stint in the pen, she was ready to take back what she started so many years ago, none other than the Empire Record business. Cookie was the initial investor in Empire Records, handing over $400,000 of drug money.
She decided to play momager to her homosexual middle son, Jamal, which was met with much disdain from her former lover, Lucious. It was clear that Lucious didn’t accept Jamal’s sexual orientation from the very beginning as a series of uncomfortable flashbacks revealed the turning point in their father-son relationship. One poignant scene that stuck with us was when a young Jamal (maybe he was 5-years-old) came tip-toeing in the living room with Lucious and his friends as an audience, wearing Cookie’s scarf and heels. Their relationship’s foundation was obviously built on shaky ground and continues to stunt it’s own growth with mostly hatred from Lucious.
So of course Lucious took on the role of manager to their youngest and most reckless son, Akeem (a Chris Brown type) and it was clear that from that point forward that the two brothers would be pawns in their parent’s shady game.
We’re not completely sure how we feel about Empire yet, but one thing is for sure, it’s dramatic and entertaining. We will give Empire a few more runs before we decide if this drama is for us or not. Either way, Black Twitter will have a field day with this show every Wednesday night and if the show itself doesn’t entertain you, Twitter sure will! We’ll be watching next week. Tweet with us!