Monday, March 9, 2015

So About This Empire Show....

"Alright let start the meeting, we're creating a black show so we can shut them up about blacks on tv. We'll give them a show but lets find some of the most negative things we really think bout black people and let them act it out. Prison, drugs, sex, killing, mean, split family, cussing, money, white women, who you'll never see on anything else in life. Make sure you get some black stars with names they know so they'll watch it. Yea will let them be funny are something like this cause we already got the black chic playin the hi class ho seeing the President on the other show. HAAAAhahahahahahahahahah" - Comment via "Old School" on this article on Hollywood Reporter 
Empire Photo via Hit Fix
Forgive the typos in that comment but if you get the point the commenter was trying to make, then I think we are off to a good start with my quick analysis of this show. After hearing almost all my Facebook friends rave about how awesome this show is, I decided to join the bandwagon this weekend and watch it. I hate to say it, but I am borderline agreeing with this commenter.

My reason? This show is too high on stereotypes! What makes it worse is that I feel it's all about the bad stereotypes of black people. You know the anger people feel when a black person wins an academy award for a slave role? I mean, we celebrate the fact that the black people are being recognized but after a while we begin to itch and scream "Hey we can act great roles that are not only slave related!"...we begin to tear down the box society has put us in. 

When I watch empire, I kinda have that anger. I'm here itching to see something inspiring about the black race and what I see is something that emphasizes the box we are trying to break out of; that black men are violent, that black music is all about cussing, that a black person is most likely to end up in prison. That darn box!

All these bad stereotypes are found in Empire with the way it focuses of the violence, the sex, the money, the drug abuse and lack of education. I agree these shows are supposed to be a combination of real people's lives and real stories out there but is it just me that feels like this show doesn't just tell the sad truth but kinda encourages it? 

The sad truth is that there are people who do drugs to put food on their tables, there are people that end up in prison because they were trying to survive. These are all truths and I'm in no way saying that they should not be told, but when I watch Empire I suddenly get the vibe that these "sad truths" are being encouraged and I get the message that there is nothing wrong with them. And when we see nothing wrong with them, then the likelihood to seek how to change them becomes less of a possibility. 

And that hurts entertains me but I have to be truthful to myself, it hurts more.

But then again, maybe it is just TV...maybe I should just quit TV in general because if I'm honest with myself, it's not only Empire that is to blame with these overly stereotyped and uninspiring stories. 


  1. I see where you are coming from, but I feel like the show is not promoting the stereotypes per se. It is putting the stereotypes before us, especially the taboo ones, and having us start conversations. yes, Luscious is a thug, and Cookie went to jail but he wants more for his son. The one son who is Ivy-league educated also suffers from a mental disease, something which too many black and African families don't always address. Yes, there are gangs, drug dealers, and prison but I do not think that Empire glorifies any of these. My two cents though

    1. "It is putting the stereotypes before us, especially the taboo ones, and having us start conversations." That is where I agree with you. And my issue is that I would have appreciated it to go further on how these lifestyles can be changed or corrected. Not just stop there.

      Now, to those who did not know any better about the "black race", shows like this to me, just keeps us back in those stereotyped boxes and at the end of the day, nothing has changed.

  2. Also, I always remind myself that it is fiction, although sometimes art mimics life, I'd rather a scripted show than the mess that is reality tv. Those ones, yeah, I have a major issue with. But that's a different topic altogether

  3. me've got a point. Can't help but like the show though, lol. The epitome of black family life portrayed is The Cosby Show, and unfortunately I don't see a new version of it in the distant future, so we make do I guess, lol. Side far as the songs/music goes, "You're so Beautiful" is an awesome exception to the stereotypical "thug music" as it's about loving women of all shades and shapes ;)

    1. First of all...lemme say that song was just "Aite", the real song champion was the "I am a conqueror" song Jamal sang with the black lady with long hair....mahn, that song was perfect!

      And yes, shows like Cosby show were one of those that took us out of the box (let's keep Bill Cosby's allegations out of this topic for now, lol), but when the likes of Empire come into the picture...then we are back to square one.