The hit Fox series EMPIRE left it’s mark with stellar ratings for it’s premier season but it seems that while the scripted urban drama has its fans, it also has an equitable share of critics.
Tavis Smiley is one EMPIRE’s detractors, and he voiced his opinion about the show’s lack of positive characters during a recent interview with Larry King, stating that the popular show reflects the ‘worst’ of black people.
“There is a debate in the black community that hasn’t really surfaced, hasn’t really boiled to the top yet, but I hear it in barbershops and other places,” Smiley says,
“that whether the problem with Empire is that it advances the worst of every pathology that black people have—crime and drug dealing and this and that and the other. A lot of people are looking for positive characters that may come out in the second season. But the first season, everybody is like, ‘Arhhh!’ ” Smiley stated.
Watch video of Tavis Smiley’s interview + Lee Daniel’s response to the criticism below….
Empire has definitely had its fair share of critics, many echoing the same sentiments Smiley expressed in the Larry King interview above… but it’s all entertainment.
Where are the people protesting the Love & Hip Hop franchise (which is even more ratchet and supposedly ‘reality’)??
I admit, Empire had it’s ratchet moments but what many fail to realize is that there are many options on television and several channels to choose from.
If you don’t like something… don’t watch it. Why deny someone else the privilege of making their own decisions?? Simply change the channel and keep it moving! Clearly someone out there likes the show, as evidenced by the ratings…. but I digress.
On the heels of Smiley’s criticism of the hit show, Lee Daniels, EMPIRE’s executive producer and director, responds as follows:
“This is the American dream. This is no different than what Joe Kennedy did when he came over here with the Kennedys… and to say that Black people should be any different than White people says we’re different, we are the same.
Daniels goes on to say that he respects Tavis Smiley’s opinion, stating:
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” Daniels told ET. “I adore Mr. Smiley. I think he’s a very smart man.”