I don’t know about you, but I’m still reeling from the season finale of ‘Empire.’
Lucious is in jail y’all.
I knew he was going to jail.
At least it was my very strong hunch for a while now.
I’ll share a secret with you.
A few weeks ago when I interviewed ‘Empire’ creator Lee Daniels, in the commercial break I said to him, “What’s going to happen when Lucious goes to jail?”
He looked at me perplexed and asked, “How do you know Luscious is going to jail? We keep that stuff very close to the vest.”
I told him, “Of course he’s going to jail. He killed someone, but thanks for confirming.”
We laughed and moved on.
Ask him about it if you see him.
But, let’s get back to the show.
Many people love the show.
I’m one of them.
Many people, however, hate it.
They hate the polarizing TV drama because they believe it promotes the worst stereotypes about black people.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is one of the show’s biggest critics.
He has written that the show is, quote, “ghettofied” and “coonery.”
He stood behind those words last night on my show on CNN.
CNN contributor and Entertainment Tonight anchor Nischelle Turner fired back.
“Look at this family you’re talking about. This is a very diverse family. (crosstalk) Yes, you have Lucious who came from the hood and Cookie who came from the hood, but they have a son who is Ivy League educated. Yes, he had been diagnosed bipolar. They have a son who is gay and is coming out but is the most talented one in that family. They have a son who is a rapper. I think that is a very diverse family and If you’re calling it coonery then you might be calling the Turner family coonery because I have a lot of these folks in my family.”
Watkins also says this about black actors on ‘Empire’ and in Hollywood:
Watkins – “I think that a lot of black actors and actresses are just tired of being put in the entertainment ghetto. The entertainment ghetto is basically a place where you have roles that are specifically designed for black people where black actors are kinda locked into. I can tell you that if that family was a normal family and didn’t have so many dysfunctions those characters would have been white. Let’s be clear. Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News. ”
Lemon – “Did you watch ‘Dynasty’? Did you watch ‘Dallas’? Did you watch ‘Falcon Crest’? Did you watch every soap opera that’s come along?”
Watkins – “Yes but this is not ‘Dynasty’. This is not ‘Falcon Crest’. This is I’m on slap yo b***h a** cause I’m from the hood.”
Lemon – “Crystal and Alexis had a fight every episode calling each other the B-word. There is no difference.”
My response, as well as the other guests on my panel with Watkins last night on CNN, was that black actors are probably just happy to have a job where they are allowed the same creative and artistic freedom as actors of any other color.
I’ve said it before.
I’ll say it again.
No TV show can represent an entire community or ethnicity, nor should it have to.
It’s about time that simple understanding applies to black folks as well.
Don Lemon: ‘Empire’ Is Not Coonery Or Ghetto. Get Over It! was originally published on blackamericaweb.com