Gimme Five: Things We Love About Lee Daniels’ Empire
Okay, so we know this post is long overdue, but we were so caught up with all of the drama on Empire that we forgot to weigh in on it. So, without further ado, here is a round-up of the five things Blindie loves about Lee Daniels’ Empire, besides the obvious -like Cookie, and Gabourey Sidibe’s character saying her mom is white which is why her name is Becky:
1 – The portrayal of an African American family business!
Yes, they’re dysfunctional, lying and cheating, but isn’t that typical of a successful family business. Sure the business was started with drug money and founded by a drug dealer, but didn’t most American empires build their wealth on unscrupulous ways like slavery, hello JP Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Aetna, and bootlegging, hello the Kennedy family.
2 – The depiction of the two most denied and ignored realities in the black community – mental illness and homosexuality!
Even though Jamal stirred up the gay drama when he kicked his long-time boyfriend to the curb and started getting it on with his videographer, we’re more interested in how the conflicts with his homophobic father will be resolved and his reluctance to come out.
As for Andre’s bipolar diagnosis, the verdict is still out whether the show’s creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have painted a three dimensional character with mental illness or just a stereotype of a mentally ill person. Either way, it gets more people talking about the illness while raising awareness in the black community.
3 -Black art!
The Lyon family may not be the most upstanding family but they definitely know how to support the community and buy black. Here is a rundown of the artists and their featured works:
So far we’ve spotted 5 amazing works by the talented Kehinde Wiley:
- World Stage, Prince Albert, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria, Oil on Canvas, 2013 (pictured below)
- Rumors of War, Officer of the Hussars, Oil and Enamel on Canvas, 2007 (pictured below)
- Rumors of War, Le Roi a La Chasse, Oil and Enamel on Canvas, 2007
- Naomi and Her Daughters, Oil on Cavnas, 2013
- An Economy of Grace, Princess Victoire of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Oil on Linen, 2012
A few pieces by Basquiat: (see one of them below)
A beautiful masterpiece by Jamea Richmond Evans: (see below)
And a bold work by Dallas-based artist Michael Savoie:
But before you get the notion that all of this modern black art is an obvious choice for the “new money” that Empire represents, check out the works by Monet, Gustav Klimt, and Vincent van Gogh featured also.
4 – The cameos and guest appearances!
Estelle, Courtney Love, Patti Labelle, Snoop Dogg, Raven Symone, Rita Orr, to name a few. We’re waiting for Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey in the next season!
5 – Ratings that generate headlines like these: