Empire- “The Outspoken King”

Fox’s “Empire” begins with a flashback of Lucious during his hay days as a rapper and his hit albums. In the present, it shows him watching a television show praising his accomplishments while running on a treadmill. His wife, Anika, interrupts him asking why Cookie is at their gate. She rudely demands to be let in. Lucious meets her at the door and allows her in. She is in awe of the mansion’s opulence and then insults the decor and tells him she came to see her house. He reminds her his home was not apart of the deal, just as Anika interrupts them by coming into the hallway in her bra and panties. The two stare each other down. Cookie declares she is hungry and heads to the kitchen. At breakfast, she tells Lucious she wants to make sure he will not back stab Jamal and demands he let him open up Leviticus, their new club, with Hakeem. He refuses telling her he does not want the club t confused as a gay spot and that Jamal’s audience is not theirs. She reminds him of her contribution to Empire in front of Anika until Lucious reminds her of their agreement. She tells him she paid a hefty price for his success and going to make things right, and that he will not be shutting Jamal out anymore.

Terrence Howard as "Lucious Lyon"
Terrence Howard as “Lucious Lyon”
Bryshere Gray as "Hakeem Lyon"
Bryshere Gray as “Hakeem Lyon”

Hakeem and his crew lounge around at the studio until they are interrupted by Tiana, a new singer at Empire. He is instantly drawn to her and watches her as she rehearses one of her songs. She rebuffs his advances, but he remains determined to have her. Later, Lucious speeds to Empire and discusses business with Becky and Vernon on the phone , the latter informs him that one of their rap stars, Four-Four, is surrounded by controversy after someone committed a murder inspired by his lyrics. Andre and Rhonda prepare for their next move to take Empire when she notices he is talking in third person again. She realizes he has not been going to his therapist or taking his medication for his bipolar disorder. She warns him of how dangerous that can be. Lucious is met at Empire by the press. Elsewhere, Cookie drops in on Jamal while he and Michael are fooling around in bed. She tells him it is time for him to come out and steal Hakeem’s press at Leviticus and introduces him to Porsha, her new assistant. He is reluctant to come out that way but she insists it is the best way. The rapper defends the murder and his lyrics in the meeting, glad he was such an inspirational. Lucious tells him he will handle the press, but his must share the stage with Hakeem at Leviticus Cookie interrupts the meeting admonishing him for his weak lyrics. She and the rapper immediately get into it and Lucious escorts her out. He admonishes her for not being professional, she in turn almost hits him with her shoe. Later,  Becky snoops through Lucious’s bag and find his medication. She confronts him about it and confides in her he has ALS. Vernon learns Bunkie has been murdered and identifies his body.

Hakeem and Tiana
Hakeem and Tiana

Cookie continues to brainstorm ideas of how to make Jamal’s coming out huge. Porsha inadvertently suggests they use the press outside Empire to their advantage. Cookie agrees and begins making plans until she learns of Bunkie’s murder from Lucious. Later, at a family meeting Lucious declares he will find the person who killed Bunkie. Hakeem takes the loss particularly hard, Cookie tries to comfort him but he rejects her. Jamal tries to convince him she is not that bad and they discuss his upcoming performance at Leviticus. Later, Hakeem goes to a fancy restaurant with his friends and while drunk is filmed talking about Tiana and then pees on the floor. He then goes into a rant calling President Obama a sellout and goads the police about shooting him. The video goes viral! The next day, Lucious tries to make amends with the President to no avail Andre informs him that they are in danger of not going public based on the negative publicity and that Jamal will be coming out in a press conference will hinder their chances. Lucious tells his eldest son if he gets the company public despite this controversy then Empire is his.  Lucious decides to do an interview with one of the more outspoken media outlets against Four-Four. As he preps, Cookie tells him he sounds weak. He meets with Jamal and threatens to cut him off if he comes out. Jamal does not show at the press conference, disappointing Cookie and Michael.

Lucious and Anika
Lucious and Anika

At the interview, Lucious inspired by a statement from Cookie,  defends hip-hop culture and the things he had to do as an individual to survive as a youth. He tells them his artists encourage the youth to use music as an outlet instead of guns. Back at Empire, Four-Four and Cookie again get into a verbal altercation, Lucious defends him. Cookie is hurt by his coldness towards her. Before they get off the elevator he fires Four-Four. At Leviticus, Hakeem convinces Jamal to join him on stage. Their performance is dynamic and wins over Tiana’s affections. She meets him backstage and they hook up. Andre continues to unravel until Rhonda reigns him. Jamal apologizes to his mother but she reminds him there is a price to pay for fame! Cookie leaves the club and is met by The Feds. They change a plea deal they arranged with her, telling her she would have to testify against someone before a grand jury. She declares they are going to get  her killed!

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Hey Mikey!

WHO AM I? That’s probably what you’re thinking? It’s simple I’m this generation’s “Dear Abby!” I was raised in the Fourth Ward of Atlanta, educated in the School of Hard Knocks, and rescued by the concrete and steel of New York City. Life at best will always be bittersweet. The sooner you accept that, the better off you’ll be. I’d prefer to be on your sweeter side. Everyone needs a listening ear, extra shoulder, and open arms when life gets rough. I’m your new best friend, whe it all goes south remember I’m a mouse click or tweet away. Hang in there kids, you’re gonna love kickin’ it with me!!! -MIKEY