One Man’s Opinion: Fox TV’s “Empire” Does Not Merit African American Support

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The ONLY redeeming value to FOX Television’s latest new program, “Empire” is that it has “Black folks working” as actors, musicians, writers, etc. Beyond that fact, the show is a complete and utter abomination.
At a time when we are desperately trying to correct and cast off the very same negative stereotypes and images that have trigger-happy law enforcement officials, and the general public, on edge, do we need to go back to the times when “pimps, whores, drug dealers and gangsters” were glorified? And these were the perceptions of our communities that all America saw via the media. Really? As the brothers on ESPN say every week, “Come On, Man!!!”
Based on the reactions via social media, “Empire” is a tremendous hit. But is this show a real example of Black “progress” in the media? I’m probably in the minority, and really don’t care, but I think not. According to a multitude of comments, the show depicts some elements of our Black life that many of us “can relate to.” That’s nice, but if our fathers beat our mothers or we had a drunken, drug-addicted uncle in the family who was a pedophile, would we consider that to be the sort of “entertainment” we wanted the rest of the world to continue seeing as the best depiction of our community? Is that the best way to “Tell our story?”
super_fly_poster_02And if so, for what purpose? What redeeming value and motivation do we find in “Empire?” Would we want our children to think that, with the right motivation, they can start up a record company with $400,000 in illegal drug money? Or they can shoot a childhood friend in the head to keep a secret? For those who are old enough to remember, isn’t that what movies like “Superfly” and “The Mack” were all about? And at the end of the day, that genre of “entertainment” spawned generations of the wannabe gangstas, pimps and drug-dealers who plagued and terrorized our communities for decades. The very images and stereotypes we still find ourselves trying to explain away to our non-African American colleagues and friends. As has been often-said, “If you don’t know your history, you are bound to suffer from the same mistakes.”
This time, that “mistake” is being broadcast and heavily promoted by FOX, the one television network that has consistently proven itself to be insensitive to, and totally disrespectful of, the African American community and it’s leadership. Again, I say “Come On, Man,” what are you thinking?
In the end, we can always say, “It’s just television.” True, but I ask, do you think President Obama would allow his daughters to watch “Empire?” Would you allow your children to watch it? I hope not.

Lon Walls
Global Social Media News Service

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22 Replies to “One Man’s Opinion: Fox TV’s “Empire” Does Not Merit African American Support”

  1. Marilyn Crawford

    A detailed account of one man’s opinion.
    We need more intergenerational dialogue with mentor caliber black men and boys and Tweens and young adults. They are not reading your opinions in this forum. If GM, COCA COLA, AMERICAN EXPRESS, UNDER ARMOUR want to make a real difference. Take $10 million and go into neighborhoods with a shrink wrapped 18 wheeler. Have an open town meeting and afterwards a intergenerational friendly concert. Dissect Empire as entertainment and infotainment. Why ? Because other cultures and races are NOT faced with the serious homicide problems we face. Then one by one teach these kids through sports in something like the BASKETBALL AND BOOKS ACADEMY, that cannot get funding to create a $10 million educational sports residential facility. Start grown up in homes, Social Network, to EDUCATE. We are our own worst enemy feeding into every stereotype there is in Reality , not art.

    • Classy Mzzz

      I read hundreds of “Black” dialogues weekly. Over the years, I have read and participated in thousands. I hear a stronge cry out for Black Unity. But there is none.

      Black America is extremely divided. We have the Blackish/ the Crosbys. We have Horrific Reality TV Shows of every walk of life. I see a lot of clowndiciousness on tv or substance addicted people no one wants to be associated with.

      Black America is divided and we have real hate more than love inside of our hearts. We tire of one another easily and quickly. There are so many variables why which leads me to state one Black man’s or woman’s opinion doesn’t matter in the equation at FOX. And, it really shouldn’t.

      There are Black people and people in general working, at work making Empire an awesome tv show. The show can’t resolve social problems or social agendas.

      However, I do agree that advertisers, such as Coca Cola should invest heavily into youth intervention and jobs programs, as well as, adult small business programs to develop funding for 2 dozens new micro-enterprises in every underserved and disenfranchised community.

      Just as FOX, Lee Daniels, Coca-Cola should have an empowering agenda, I think the strongest and most suitable residents in predominantly Black communities MUST have empowering agendas.

      If you don’t want thugs and gangs living in “your chartered neighborhood,” establish bylaws to evict the criminal element.

      However, no one can escape the unsuitable and crime. We have preachers or wolves in sheep’s clothing walking around freely. And bitches and hoes in City Hall and on high level executive boards.

      Welcome to the real world. Empire is a hell of an captivating show. Love iT!

  2. Pingback: One Man’s Opinion: Fox TV’s “Empire” Does Not Merit African American Support | VENT RADIO

  3. Eugene Johnson

    Again my Brother Lon Walls makes a elegant point on the foremost important issue of our time “Image”. Consider the source Rupert Murdoch (his media empire) and how he uses it to impact society’s view of culture and politics. The comparisons to the “exploitation films” of the 1970’s Lon makes – are right on target. Fox’s movie Gods and Kings is another example of taking license with images that affects people’s concept of culture and history. We all must take responsibility and control of our own images to abate others doing it for you. Vote with your money and the ballot don’t support these kinds of projects. I

  4. Eugene Johnson

    Again my Brother Lon Walls makes a elegant point on the foremost important issue of our time “Image”. Consider the source Rupert Murdoch (his media empire) and how he uses it to impact society’s view of culture and politics. The comparisons to the “exploitation films” of the 1970’s Lon makes – are right on target. Fox’s movie Gods and Kings is another example of taking license with images that affects people’s concept of culture and history. We all must take responsibility and control of our own images to abate others doing it for you. Vote with your money and the ballot don’t support these kinds of projects. I Understand supporting black actors and projects but we need to be responsible with our actions, weighing these types of projects impact on our cultural image. Everyone else does why shouldn’t we – hold all areas of entertainment, sports and particularly the music industry accountable for the way they handle our images starting with our own house which we have the most influence. If we are not responsible for our own images how can we expect someone else to be.

    • natalie haughton

      I too thought this was utter trash. All that I saw was a dramatization of the Maury show and Fox News trashy throws t the POTUS, being written by Shaun Hannity, Bill O’Rielly and Commentator Michael Berry of Houston(former city council member).

  5. Dorothy Hunter

    ONE WOMAN’S OPINION!!! I totally disagree with you, your article, and your views on what are redeeming values and what are not:( The new t.v. show, EMPIRE, has marvelous actors, beautiful scenery, great music (with nice clean lyrics) fabulous writers, director, producer, and I could go on and on!!! It airs at a time when children should be in bed getting their proper rest for school the next day! Now if you want a show that should be deemed an abomination, it’s the Jerry Springer Show!!! Yes, EMPIRE, does merit African American Support, and I plan to do just that. I hope it stays on the air for years to come:)

    • Rev. Christian

      “She makes me drop drop” is clean lyrics? Teens smoking and drinking, sex outside of marriage, killing to protect an empire… All are good clean fun! Wow.. We keep on justifying negativity… We need another Dr. Cosby to come along and clean up the African American image that are being destroyed… All in the name of entertainment… Which one of these young men on the show would you want your daughter to marry it your son to emulate?

  6. Kimeatha Scott

    Empire is great entertainment. The acting is top of the line. This man compared the show to Superfly and so what. They did what they had to do back in the day. It is so sad to watch how a person can try to tear down some one else’s work. I guess he thinks Hattie McDaniel’s character in gone with the wind was a abomination also. Yes, the company was started with her drug money. He elevated himself from the streets and started a company that is legal and pays taxes. The characters are educated, talented, and business savy. If it wasn’t for the movies like Super Fly, the Hattie McDaniels, Amos and Andy’s there would be no Denzels, Terrances, and others. They set the bar, and did what had to be done to help open the door, the cast of Empire just walked through a door that has been open for them. This show gives the stage to talented singers, actors, and rappers. It shows educated Black people running a company. Ok, Lucious a gangster, so what. Do you think that all of the shows that have white gangsers are abominations ? I would not let my children read your articles because you are to perfect and I do not like perfect people. My name is Kimeatha Scott and I am a proud Empire fan.

    • Kevin Walls

      Actually Lon has touched on the one point that needs to be focused on and that is the need for a identity makeover. All the show is doing is confirming the stereotypes of Afro American people. On the other hand the show has increased the employment of writers, technical staff, actors, etc. in the Afro American community. So as long as you realise it is white corporate America’s opinion of black entertainment all you can do is be entertained.

  7. ThankYou

    I appreciate and agree with your opinion. Black American people are continually being hoodwinked and bamboozled in this country. Black people are continually spoon fed ignorance and slop it right up like it’s a last meal.

    In other countries, black people are featured in every day roles as every day people. But in America, they have to be flashy stereotypes (pimp prostitute jezebel criminal or abuser).

    Fox know exactly what they’re doing by promoting this show. If you took a look at Fox’s leadership it would probably be full of old white male faces who have interests in the prison industrial complex. Music enterprises as well. But unfortunately, not enough black people are able to think beyond the mind numbing images they consume on TV and social media every day.

    Thank you for caring enough about the image of black men to write this post. I do the same for women.

  8. Dan Fahey

    Interesting Fox never publishes Vulture Capitalist buying out profitable companies. Borrowing huge amounts of money to purchase it. Instead of their own money. Fire thousands of employees, selling off assets, taking the intellectual content and selling that off and leaving a small shell of what the company use to be. Moving the business overseas. Then hiding the profits is Swiss or some Bank to prevent paying taxes. Then pitting small countries to reduce corporate taxes. Then demanding US taxpayer money to bail them out or protecting their Assets in other countries with our Kids starting foreign wars.

  9. Catherine

    I found your article after reading “Empire, the best show on tv”. And your opinion made me almost feel there’s still hope. Many tv shows depict men in general, as nothing bit horn dog idiots. And women as gold digging objects who use their “sexualoty” to fool the stupid boys And now Empire, proclaimed as being great role models for blacks? Are you kidding me? It’s insulting. And Bill Cosby was the pioneer in realizing the portrayal of blacks, yet is ridiculed by his own people. What aa sad state of affairs this country…world, is in. But you Sir, nailed it. Thank you!

    • Lon Walls

      Brother Ronaldo, I also hate “Scandal.” I really don’t care how much everyone loves Kerri Washington, the series portrays Black women in very negative light, some of which is unrealistic, to the entire world. Those of us who live in Washington know that no woman, Black or white, is going sashay around this city with that kind of attitude and have that sort of access. And why does it have to be a Black woman that has an affair with a low-life President? Finally, the show totally disrespects the office of the President, that sends a bad message, no matter who is in the office; but especially at this point in time because of the race of the man that currently holds that position. I stopped watching the program after the second episode.

  10. sharon Blakely Salaam

    First of all Terrence Howard is one of my favorite actors. I’ve been watching the show but there are a few scenes that make me feel uncomfortable. For example shooting his best friend. The show is mostly about money and sexuality be it gay or straight. Unfortunately, TV is playing against us and not for us. Berry Gordy ran a legitimate music company (Motown) and revolutionized African American music. Don’t let your young children watch this show. I watch in shock most times but. I think its going to wind up on the cutting floor. These people need money and work like we all do.

  11. reggie

    In my humble opinion as a man who watches tv , I see Empire as nothing more than the black version of Dallas and Dynasty.

    I don’t see anyone from the White community admiring or inspired by the characters in those shows .
    Because the shows are entertainment and make believe .
    Lee Daniels (black gay man) wanted to create a show that he loved but with black characters ,Drama sells … that’s why How to get away with murder , Scandal with leading black actors are getting buzz.

    I see you a bit of hypocrisy why not bash tyler perry the Have’s and Have nots Also
    Their running on very similar premise but that show has been a bit more crazier than empire .

    I’m not looking for TV to teach me anything this show a adult show.
    The people watching are actually in their mid twenties to late 50s.
    I don’t see any kids watching this I know of its a soap opera.

  12. Goodcoffie

    My entire family was turned completely off by the Empire 2nd season premiere last night. We all agree it is not for the general public. It should be a adult cable channel show. It is no way educational or beneficial to the African American culture. So sorry that it has taken “Empire to Hellfire” turn.. This show is for homosexuals only in my opinion.


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