ByWill Mathis, writer at
Just a guy who loves all things media related.
Will Mathis

So if any of you out there are like me, you like a little drama in the shows you watch. Not necessarily the over the top madness of Bad Girls Club, but you don't want your show to be devoid of scandal and intrigue all together. We know we like it and the media knows we like it, its no surprise to anyone. In saying that though, does that mean we are willing to accept stereotypes for the sake of drama as viewers?

Which brings us to Empire. Empire is the story of African American rap mogul, Lucious Lyon and his family as they deal with their different aspirations of longevity (in Lucious' case), stardom, fame, fortune, acceptance, and retribution. All things that we seek after at one time or another. I like this show and I think it has a lot of good people involved in it. Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler), Terrence Howard (Iron Man, Hustle and Flow), and Taraji P. Henson( Hustle and Flow, Karate Kid) are all big enough to carry the show, but are accented by a talented cast of supporting of characters.

When I look at a show for the first time there are a few things that factor in if I like it, love it, or just wish I was never born to see it. The things I look at are character depth, plot, sub plot, and content. I love the plot of Empire, the diverging sub-plots, and the more adult content, which makes clear what the characters motivations are. I will say though there are some things that get to me in the show, mostly Henson's character, Cookie

She is the most "black" character on the show. I say "black" cause I'm sure some of the masses that watch the show really think this is how most african americans are. Its a common misconception that most (if not all in some peoples eyes) black people started off with little to nothing and the ones that do come into money did so through rapping, or sports. Moreover that we are loud to the point of being obnoxious, argumentative, and just outright try to act ignorant. This is Cookie in a nut shell. We know thats not the case for all but some black people are and do these things. Its a fact of life. We are all different and choose to act a certain way and thats truly ok. Despite that, I do feel that this is the stigma that has been put on African Americans for too long and that this show is another example of that. Is it the shows fault that this is the thinking of the public? of course not! Does it help to stop it? no. Creating shows like this is all well and good, because like i said, I enjoy it. The problem comes in where these are the only shows that come out about african americans. I am nothing like these characters, and as a black male who is educated and carries himself with decorum I don't want to be viewed in this way and I'm sure no one likes to be contrived into a stereotype. Diversity is a good thing, in any area of society, but it needs to be pressed for particularly in the media.


Are we to jaded or set in our ways to depict other races in a manner thats not stereotypical?


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