I don’t know about you but the buzz surrounding Empire made me watch it and I was hooked from the word GO. I had to literally stop myself from watching the full season one at one sitting. Now after so much anticipation and the long wait, season 2 is only a few days from premiering (September 23rd to be precise). While we wait, I thought to share a few of the life nuggets, financial and PR lessons I picked from the series. I had so much to write but settled for my top 7. Enjoy
1. Respect your parents: There is nothing more African in the series than when Hakeem was flogged with a broom by his mum “Cookie” for disrespecting her. I’m sure my African brothers and sisters would have been watching that scene like “that’s my mum right there…lol”. Although Hakeem had a right to be angry with his mother who went to jail almost immediately after giving birth to him and not been in his life. He had no right to disrespect her. Even Lucious agrees and said to Hakeem “I am not gonna make you love your mother, but you are gonna respect her”. There is nothing truer than that statement. No matter what our parents do, the fact remains that they are our parents and deserve our respect and honor. The Bible in Ephesians 5:1-3 reminded us saying “Children obey your parents…..Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with a promise) that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth”.
2. Be dead sure: To buttress this point, two scenes come to mind; Cookie stepping out to find a rose on her doorstep, fear gripping her and the thought that the cop killer “Frank Gathers” whom she just snitched on in court was after her life. This led her to paying to have him killed only to find out the rose was just a commemorative gift from Lucious for their anniversary. Only if she waited to be sure. Secondly, Lucious Lyon was apparently misdiagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and given less than 3 years to live when he actually had Myasthenia Gravis (MG) which isn’t as serious. This impending false scare of death led him to speed up taking the company public, finding a successor and pushing Yakeem to drop an album. All these led to cracks in the relationship between him, his sons, his ex wife and his fiancée. Only if he had sort a second opinion. Don’t be in a hurry to make decisions, get a second/third/fourth opinion if not sure and make sure you get your facts straight before jumping into the pool with both feet.
3. Names are important: There is nothing more resounding in the series than the name of the family “The Lyons”. Such name commands respect. But what shocked me was when Lucious confided in Jamaal that his real name wasn’t actually Lucious Lyon but Dwight Walker but got it changed after he was orphaned. Do you think, the name “The Walkers” or “The Walker Dynasty” would have commanded as much respect as the name “The Lyons” or “The Lyon Dynasty” would have? Doesn’t have a nice ring to it, does it?
Exactly my point, choose your business name and choose it well and please endeavor to name your children right as well. Names are too important to be trivialized.
4. Try to accept people for who they are: Remember the scene where Cookie had just left jail and went to see her son “Jamaal”. She stepped into his house, hugged him and saw how dirty his crib was and said “for a queen, you sure do keep a messy place. On her way to inspect the chicken he had on fire, she saw his boyfriend “Michael” and said “honey, you didn’t tell me you was dating a little Mexican, she’s adorable”. She called her son a “queen” and she called his boyfriend a “she”. Jamaal is gay off course. Also, the scene where Cookie was in a cab and she was informed about Tiana’s lesbian picture with her girlfriend, instead of criticizing her or as Africans would do “bind out the demons”, she simply remarked “I don’t judge but you’s a freak and that’s a good thing”. She accepted her son for who he was and loved him anyway. Something Lucious found very difficult doing from the onset. She also accepted Tiana for who she was and worked with her anyway. Why criticize or judge people. You either love them or leave them. Simple.
5. Surround yourself with people that believe in you and your dreams: The only thing that stood between Jamaal and stardom was his messed up priorities. When quizzed by Cookie, he said “I just want to play, touring and albums mess up the authencity of the sound”. Then Cookie at her best said “Maal, you gotta share what God gave you with the World”. In subsequent episodes, she reminded him of his talent and kept telling Lucious that his gay son was the most talented of the duo (Hakeem and Jamaal) and he was gonna become the heir apparent of the Lyon dynasty. On the other hand, Jamaal’s boyfriend “Michael” was afraid of the direction/attention Jamaal’s talent was giving him and wanted him all to himself instead of encouraging him to spread his wings and fly. They eventually broke up. You might have the gift but surrounding yourself with those that believe in that gift is almost as important. If you are a Jamaal, surround yourself with a Cookie. Be inspired.
6. Appearance is everything: If you want to be the boss, you better look like one. I’m sure that’s what Cookie and Lucious had in mind when stepping out every day. Whether on his coily hair with bad ass jackets and insane muffler scarfs to match or her animal print dresses or obnoxious fur coats with bad ass makeup, both main characters were never caught looking nothing like royalty. Its true that people are more inclined to take you more seriously if you dress authoritatively. Always dress to impress.
7. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer: From the moment Lucious learnt that Cookie was out of jail, he immediately instructed Bunkie to keep an eye on her saying “I want to know everything she’s (Cookie) doing, and I mean everything”. Did you ever think Lucious wasn’t in the know of what ever Billy Baretti (owner of Creedmoor Entertainment) had planned? You need to stay ahead of the game but the surest way to do that is know the game’s next move before they make it. Remember the saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
……and remember “The streets ain’t made for everybody, that’s why they made sidewalks.” Know your lane and walk in it. Don’t be who you are not, stay true to yourself because it takes too much effort to be someone you are not.
So to my Empire fans eagerly anticipating Season 2 which kicks off in a few weeks time, FOX TV released a trailer of the new season and its hawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwt.
Luscious Lyon is in jail and gets a visit from Cookie, Cookie is in a cage, Andre plots to become CEO by removing Luscious, Luscious is singing in jail, Chris Rock is Luscious Lyon’s cell-mate and many more. I can hardly wait. Click HERE to watch the Season 2 Trailer.
BONUS: Are you aware that Wesley Snipes was supposed to play Luscious Lyon instead of Terrance Howard and Monique was to play Cookie instead of fan’s favorite Taraji P. Henson? Find out 9 other things you didn’t know about Empire in this 3 minute video titled “10 Things You didn’t Know About EMPIRE”. Click HERE to watch.
EXTRA: For those wondering what all the fuzz is about or for those that wana watch the season 1 again, click HERE to download the FULL season one on your phone and watch on the go.