Series Review : Empire

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By Herbert Byamukama

Allow me to take a moment to register my deep dissatisfaction with whoever recommended Empire to me. The names Terence Howard and Taraji Henson sucked me in to what I thought would be the black Nashville but alas twas but a lie. The characters are written so one dimensionally and whatever strength Taraji and Terence can bring to play isn’t enough to counter the terrible script and the very unlikable and unrelatable characters all around.
The story involves a hip hop mogul father pitting his three sons against each other in a battle to inherit his record label/company. Of the three, the first is an MBA who has been at his father’s side running the company since back in the day; the second is a gay RnB artist who’s scared to come out to the world because his dad told him the hip hop game has no room for homosexuals (did I mention he does RnB); and the last one is a reckless, feckless rapper with such drama and poor decision making skills that I think he’s a white girl in a horror movie.
Really? Really!

Then they also take us for fools: in one scene, the gay brother drops a beat for the rapper who immediately goes, “That’s tight. That’s tight.” And then “raps”. Only he’s making that guttural Unh Unh sound rappers like, and then the gay brother tells him, “That’s tight.”
Seriously? Seriously!
P.S. the father would rather the younger sons run the company. Why? Because they’re stars and the board would more likely support either of them. What kind of board is this that overlooks ability and business sense for stardom?
Now we come to another character who plays her part brilliantly but again that writing…
Taraji’s character is the boys’ mother recently released from jail. Turns out she provided to seed money to start up the company (not a spoiler, it’s in the trailer) and she wants hers now 15 years later. She’s given a generous stipend among other significant perks, but I bring this up for one reason… she hires an assistant that is the very definition of a hood-rat. Why, o why? This is a woman with sharp business sense who hires an assistant that doesn’t know what going viral means…
These are just a few of the many aspects of this show that made me cringe whilst watching the first two episodes. I don’t see myself touching the rest.
Oh. There’s another key moment when they empower women and later slap them in the face. If you watch it, you’ll see it. Stupid show.
Deleted with extreme prejudice.
Now to search for that recommender

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