Lee Daniels (yes, as in Lee Daniels’ The Butler) has a bigger purpose with his new show, Empire, aside from some entertaining television.
And while Empire is, without a doubt, entertainment — yes, you should be watching — Daniels also hopes it spreads a message of acceptance to homophobic people within the African-American community.
Daniels, who is openly gay, recently worked with the popular NOH8 Campaign to help spread the word.
— NOH8 Campaign (@NOH8Campaign) February 5, 2015
If you watch the show, you know Lucious Lyon’s (Terrence Howard) relationship with his son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), is a big point of contention on the show. Lucious doesn’t accept his son, who is a gay young man, and seems to do everything he can to keep Jamal from rising to musical success as a result. On the other hand, Jamal’s mother, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), wants her son to come out to the world and knows he’s more talented than the other two brothers in the family.
It’s a rich story line that definitely gets the point across. One flashback, in particular, is especially emotional. It shows a young Jamal, probably no more than 5, walking out at a family party dressed like a woman, including donning his mom’s heels. Lucious gets furious with the little guy and throws him in the trash can out back before Cookie stops him.
Despite Lucious’ homophobia, “Lucious is a lot of my father and a lot of me,” Daniels explained to Detroit News. “Lucious had to do what he had to do to get where he got. And that’s my story.”