Saturday, 12 March 2016

Empire - African American Identity

Empire Trailer

Empire is a television series based upon the music industry. Lucious is an example of the American Dream because he came from the ghetto to owning one of the most successful record labels. The Lyon family are an example of assimilation and separatism because they have some financial support from whites and try to sell black music to them because they are the ones who buy records. That being said the focus is on music of black origin, with the artists being predominantly African American, this shows that there is still a sense of separatism because they want to show that underprivileged people can achieve what Lucious has.

The show is interesting in its depictions of the various characters. Andre is the eldest son competing for the company. He is business driven, with a good education and wants power. He is seemingly the best man for the job but his bipolar disorder does not sit well with Lucious and makes him an unreliable leader. As he has a mental disorder this representation shows that you can still be at a high level even if there are obstacles in the way, you just need to accept the help and get through it.

Jamal is the middle son, his character is also interesting because he is gay, something that Lucious does not approve of and is not accepted in the black community. Jamal has the most talent as he is able to both write and produce songs. He has a white boyfriend in the show which Lucious is not accepting of either but accepts Andre's white wife. The fact that the show is representing a gay African American in such a predominantly straight industry is showing the audience it is acceptable. Also that it does not matter what your sexuality is, especially if you are black.

Hakeem is the youngest son who is obsessed with fame and the lavish lifestyle it entails. He does not work as hard as his brothers but is the favourite child so has more help to achieve his goals.

Empire represents various African American identities and does not present African Americans in a stereotypical way. They do not focus on the violence aspect or drugs, but more on achievements of the black community. People support Lucious because he does not forget where he came from yet has achieved his own music career and owns his own label.

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