"To the Empire!"

by Jazmine Harris

Empire is a captivating American soap opera television series based in New York. It is directed by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, centralizing around hip hop music in the entertainment company. The show Empire is a story based upon Lee Daniels life and how he lived in the projects bringing out the real pain and struggle of trying to make it out of the ghetto and into the  to the hip hop and R&B industry. Through the musical numbers in the various series of music, it explains the story of how the founders of the Empire Entertainment came about. A mother and father  by the name of Lucious and Cookie Lyon raised three boys named Jamal, Hakeem, and Andre Lyon during the hardship times in New York. Realizing the true characteristics and talent of each one of them eventually brought out competition among the three of them to see who will inherit the family dynasty.

First, Empire,  appeals to people who always have a dream of being the next big thing in the music industry. Everyday different music is presented to reach out and relate to others that have been through various situations in their life. Lucious and Cookie Lyon paved a way for their family because it all started in the basement of their house. In order to get the things their family needed to survive, Cookie helped Lucious  sell drugs and when a huge transaction went wrong she went to jail leaving behind her love and the huge investment to make it better for the family dynasty. Lucious, the CEO of Empire Entertainment,  took on the role of raising their three sons until Cookie returned seventeen years later to claim her half of the company. Through the musical aspects of Jamal, who is the middle child, he faces his own problems as he is looked upon for being gay while Hakeem, who is the youngest, faces reality by living in the limelight and looking past the true work and dedication of being famous. Behind all the plotting and scheming the business is held and organized through his oldest son Andre, who suffers with a bipolar disorder. With Lucious repugnant decisions he makes in order to uphold the company he tends to put the company and his sons in danger. The reasoning behind all the masking and malicious outline is because Lucious have ALS and he is trying to see out of his three sons which one would  have enough potential, responsibility, and a strong mind to take over by putting Jamal, Andre, and Hakeem up against each other. Overall no matter who end up taking over the company they do not let anyone outside the family dynasty interfere with the Empire Entertainment. Through all the hard work and and love the Lyon’s have for one another the bond between the family will never be torn apart.

Then, the emotions throughout Empire begins with the love shown towards one another. The passion of the artist voices touch many viewers that tune into the show. Everyone that is apart of the Empire Entertainment faced a deficient past and they choose to express how they feel through the sound of music. Coming from the rough parts of New York and transitioning into a better life made Lucious and Cookie steeled Jamal, Andre and Hakeem to appreciate what they truly have now despite the hardship they faced in their past from the lack of affection from Lucious. The family will stick together no matter what the outcome is just as long as the family name and legacy continues on.

The trust within the inside and outside of the family is thin. When dealing with the family empire it causes friction when there is competition involved. Between Jamal, Hakeem, and Andre, the trust and bond slowly faded away as soon as Lucious announced that between the three of them only one would inherit the empire and become the new CEO of Empire Entertainment. It brought out the worst amongst the brothers because of the proof of showing how they can keep the family name and dynasty up to parts as Lucious go up against his condition of having ALS. Outsiders that want to be apart of the company would cause friction leaving the empire in danger if the company do not be secured. Now that Cookie is officially out of jail Lucious sense something about her that makes him question her capabilities to try and take over the empire despising the fact that she served time in jail for selling drugs that opened up the doors to get the empire started. In return of half of the company, she wants to collect her half of the empire which stirs up trust between them because of the control that is set and made by Lucious. With the hard work and dedication the Lyon’s want to have the number one company to ever have new artist and great music. Through the competitive aspect Hakeem will do whatever it takes to become CEO of the empire. The trust that the whole family had for Hakeem no longer exist ever since he went against his family and accepted a deal that can eventually make or break the Lyon’s dynasty.

Although, the spiteful and unpleasant thoughts happens throughout the season of Empire, the family will do anything to save the name of the long living legacy. The trust between the Lyon’s bring them all closer together to slowly start knocking the competition down between Jamal, Andre, and Hakeem. The love that is shared between Cookie and Lucious is expressed best between the loving bond that can stand against anything that is willing to bring harm into the empire. Lee Daniels and Danny Strong reached out to millions of viewers to capture the point of view of the real struggle of everyday life to elevate towards bigger conditions that can have an impact to the company. Throughout the infatuation and drama nothing breaks the bond between the Lyons.