One of the hottest shows in America, complete with a major gay storyline, starts this week in South Africa.
Empire, described as a sexy and powerful new drama about the head of a music empire whose three sons and ex-wife all battle for his throne, kicks off on the FOX channel this Wednesday at 9pm.
Created by Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Precious) it stars Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson and newcomers Bryshere Grey and Jussie Smollett.
Lucious (Howard) has ruled as CEO of Empire Entertainment unchallenged for years. When he learns he has a disease that will render him incapacitated in three years, he must groom one of his three sons to take over his empire without destroying his family.
The show has been praised for its ground breaking gay storyline, in which the homophobic Lucious is faced with a gay son, Jamal Lyon (Smollett), who comes out during the course of the series.
The openly gay Daniels has stated that one of his aims with the drama was to address “homophobia” that “is rampant in the African American community.”
Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) and his boyfriend, Michael (Rafael de la Fuenta)
“I’m glad that I can show the African American community that this is what you’re doing to your son, this is what you’re doing to your nephew, this is what you’re doing to the kid down the street,” Daniels said in January before the show’s debut.
“What we’re really trying to do … is give people an opportunity to see what they’re doing is painful. It’s crushing someone that could be beautiful.”
Empire features a hip-hop soundtrack courtesy of hit-making mega-producer Timbaland, and has steadily grown in the rating in the US, becoming the number one show on the FOX network.
Recently drawing almost 14 million viewers, Empire has already been renewed for a second season.
Don’t miss it on the FOX channel (DSTV channel 125) on Wed 4 March at 9pm.