I knew the acting would be good, but I didn't think this show would be so real. Let me explain.
Summary: It's King Lear in modern day. Three sons have to compete against each other to see who will run their father's music business.
The father is sick and dying, but no one knows yet. He wants to leave his "empire" to one of his sons, but he thinks none of them are up to the challenge yet. The oldest is the businessman, but he's not an entertainer. The middle child is the singer/songwriter/producer, but he's gay and the father thinks gays won't ever be accepted in the hip-hop community. The youngest is the rapper, but he lacks focus and isn't as talented as the middle child. Let the fight begin!
The mother gets out of jail and demands half of the company since it was her money that started the company even though it was drug money. She's been in jail for 17 years and no one visited her. She knows the dirty secrets of the father and is willing to disclose them if she doesn't get what she deserves. The oldest child goes to her and tells his mother he has an idea. She should represent the middle child and help him come out with an album. The youngest is already working on his debut album with his father. The oldest is trying to set the middle and the youngest against each other so the oldest can come out the winner. Will this work? We'll have to watch to find out.
Why is this show real? Because it doesn't hide away from actual portrayals of homophobia. Sometimes it isn't just a door slammed in your face and you being disowned. Sometimes actual harm can be done and Empire doesn't shy away from it. That one scene when the middle child gets put in the trashcan made me cry. It's a sad moment, but what resonated with me is that I knew this could actually occur. Faggot was used on the show and some people thought the slur was taking it too far. But don't people use the term? They aren't saying it because they want to; they are imitating life. The mother called her son a faggot and even though she's not politically correct, actions speak louder than words. She protects her son more than anyone on the show. Does that make it right? No, but like I said, at least she has her son's back.
The slurs, the trashcan, and the beating the mother gave her youngest when he called her a bitch isn't something that is uncommon in the black community. My father even said the youngest deserved it because you don't talk to your parents like that. Before he even started talking, I knew it was going to end with him getting a beat down because he's too arrogant. But to the youngest, his mother was never there for him. He was a baby when she was locked up. He never had a mother figure, so can you really blame him? Like I said before, this show is real.
Cast: There are 3 Academy Award nominees in this show, Terrance Howard (Hustle & Flow), Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Person of Interest), and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). There's also Malik Yoba (Alphas, Why Did I Get Married) and Jussie Smollett (who is the sister of Jurnee Smollett). This is an all black cast and the acting is phenomenal.
Judgement: This show should definitely be on your list if it isn't already. The show is already receiving rave reviews and everyone is talking about Taraji P. Henson superior acting skills. Empire has already tied for best new show of the season. Hopefully it can keep up the momentum.