The last time I wrote about Empire, the 2015 runaway Fox television hit, I had many questions. Some may call them complaints but it was really all in love. This Let’s Talk Color TV blog didn’t exist then and I really ought to thank Empire for helping to usher in the new age of color on TV which makes this blog possible. I also have to give it to the show for approaching tough subjects like mental illness in the Black community, PTSD, sexual politics within the LGBT community, Black identity vs. wealth and of course the Black Lives Matter movement. Thank you, Empire. So let’s now address what has happened since that last post, shall we?
What’s with all the gratuitous butt shots and is Grace Gealey (who plays Anika Calhoun) contractually obligated to change her outfit 50,000,000 times per episode?
Tianna (Serayah) seems to be solely in charge of showing off her assets these days and this makes sense because she’s a pop princess and that’s what they do. It’s nice therefore to see that while the women on the show have sex appeal, they are not being hypersexualized particularly when that type of characterization really has nothing to do with their individual story arcs.
As for Grace Gealey, she’s changing outfits less, but let’s discuss Anika Calhoun’s character morph. During the first season, I really thought she was as tough as Cookie but then she let me down by cavorting with the likes of Hakeem during season two. (She is so much better than Hakeem. Hell, she’s better than Lucious.) This action seemed to be in stark contrast with her teaming up with competing record labels and orchestrating Andre and Rhonda Lyon’s (Kaitlin Doubleday) miscarriage though truly bad chicks don’t have to resort to killing people’s babies to get ahead. I’m glad to see she’s repossessed her backbone and sense of taste this season.
Why are all the subservient roles portrayed by darker-skinned players?
While neither Becky nor Porsha, nor Juanita (the maid) have been given last names, and still remain hired help, I am glad to see that Becky’s character has more dimension and a committed love interest. Poor Malik Yoba though. Him got killed. However, he’s got a cushy new role on ABC’s Designated Survivor so I’m glad the brother is still working and still not aging.
Why is Naomi Campbell on this show?
Naomi Campbell also got the ax, or rather, the arsenic during the second season. Some say it was because of some sort of legal battle with her and Lee Daniels but whatever. She really didn’t need to be on the show. Perhaps they used her would-be cut to now finance Taye Diggs as Angelo Dubois, Xzibit as the ruthless Shyne Johnson and Vivica A. Fox as Candace. Vivica shoulda been on the datgum show a long time ago, Ya’ll.
Does Terrence Howard not have a dedicated barber on set? How is it that Lucious Lyon is beyond wealthy but can’t manage to wear a white tee or at least a medallion underneath those painfully unbuttoned dress shirts?
Seems Terrence’s handlers have helped him make better wardrobe choices and gave him a chain (with a medallion) to wear but have given up on trying to keep his line-up straight. Now his hair is just growing out and it’s pretty much swept to the back. Fine. Whatever. I’m not sure why he couldn’t just use Bryshere Y. Gray’s barber but okay.
Is it possible to see any one of the Black male characters have a nice, healthy loving and committed relationship with someone who is also Black?
So Lucious is back in some sort of obsessively sadistic love with Cookie even though he’s in a marriage of convenience with Anika. Cookie, however, might have a shot for real love with Angelo Dubois. Andre’s white wife died though she’s still haunting him but he’s got the hots for Nessa (Sierra Aylina McClain). Somehow I don’t see any of those relationships ending well.
Jamal has made his rounds through a variety of different love affairs and even had a brief tryst with Skye Summers (Alicia Keys) though the backlash wasn’t worth it. (Sexuality is fluid, People.) Hakeem is still the same confused little whore of a man. However, Becky has a good thing going with J Poppa (Mo McRae) so perhaps both characters will feature more prominently in the future though that will probably mean that their relationship is doomed. (This is a soap opera after all.)
Can the producers or PR for the show put out some sort of feature on the African-American artwork presented on the show?
I don’t know who specifically is responsible for heeding my initial request but thank goodness for whoever supplied the following:
In light of these developments, I’ll give the show a solid three fists in the air. I might have given it a four but have ya’ll seen The Get Down?!?!? Now THAT is five fist television musical excellence. One love.
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