Monday, January 12, 2015

Fox again uses African American stereotypes to boost their ratings

After struggling television ratings in the fall of 2014, Fox just received what they call "some very welcome news: Wednesday night’s hip-hop drama The Empire has opened strong." First of all, many African Americans who watched the premiere of The Empire viewed it just to see what the hype was all about including myself. I thought that maybe times have finally changed from the same ole epic about a rapper and record label. Myself like many others who know better watched this rap, not hiphop, drama to critique it. And once again the racist stereotypes of black people are exploited again. The only people in America who can save ratings are the stereotypical black ghetto record label drama. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing the acting because Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson are acting their butts off.

Actor Terrence Howard getting photo bombed because
of the rap drama The Empire
You see, one has to read between the lines. When I googled The Empire I surfed a few social sites to see the results of the Nielson ratings and low and behold the station owners were praising this low-brow drama as if it were something to be proud of. For other races of people, I can understand why they praised this TV series. But from an African American perspective, this TV series is nothing to be proud of, nothing to be praised and nothing to look up to. They have the younger generation fooled but not the 35 year olds and up. I just kept shaking my head and saying, "Gyollie, this is a damn shame... the same wack ass narrative with new agendas."
Director Lee Daniels

The creator of The Empire, Lee Daniels, seems to be taking Tyler Perry's spot for demeaning black people in movies and TV. If you ever heard of the movies Monster's Ball, The Woodman, Precious and The Butler then you have seen Lee Daniels work. Daniels has directed other films and you can check out his bio for the credits. It is a damn shame that there was a roundtable discussion Sunday night with the two lead actors, the director (Lee Daniels) and producers of the show saying how "great" and how "real" the show is. Where are the shows that show lynchings, police brutality and blatant racism in this country. Taraji P. Henson (actress/co-star), Brian Grazer (the producer), Danny Strong (executive producer/writer) and Ilene Chaiken (executive producer/showrunner) were talking like this was the greatest TV show for black people since The Cosby Show! The round table discussion was horrid at best. With movies like Selma, The Help, The Butler and Twelve Years A Slave African Americans still don't have ONE movie or TV sitcom that POSITIVELY describes sensible, educated hard working Black people in this country. "Empire was just some random idea I had," Danny Strong told The Wire at Fox's upfront after party. "I was literally driving in my car and I thought, I wonder if you could do King Lear in a hip hop empire. I literally was like: King Lear. Hip hop Empire and then my next thought was, 'I should call Lee Daniels.'" {read between the lines}.

According to InsideTV The Empire premiered to 9.8 million viewers and a 3.7 rating among adults 18-49. That’s Fox’s highest-rated series debut in three years (since 2012’s Touch)...  {read between the lines}. All of the other shows that Fox aired were dismal at best until the saviors of TV ratings (Black folks) were once again exploited to save the ratings and this show called The Empire proves my theory. American Idol pulled a premiere-low 3.2 rating with adults 18-49. That's down significantly from the 4.7 rating it brought in last January of 2014. Still, American Idol had a slight edge in total viewers, averaging 11.2 million.

50 Cent isn’t a fan of the new hip hop drama “Empire” — but the show’s star Taraji P. Henson doesn’t seem to mind.
Taraji P. Henson,  Oscar nominee, responded to the rapper’s diss of her new Fox series on Twitter earlier this week, after 50 Cent claimed on Instagram that “Empire’s” marketing materials were very similar to the Starz crime drama, “Power,” which he produces.
“POWER Season 2 is unbelievably good trust me,” he wrote last month in a since-deleted post. “I have the best writers and show runner. “I like Terrence Howard and Taraji Henson. I don't like that they would copy the Marketing.”
After 50 Cent claimed that the Fox drama’s marketing materials were similar to his series "Power," Taraji P. Henson tweeted, "I pay attention to dollars not cents." In a recent interview, she also said that she didn't 'take offense' to his comments.

Empire ranks as the top-rated show in the demo, beating ABC’s Modern Family head-to-head, and grew from its Idol lead-in by 19 percent. Empire outperformed Fox’s heavily hyped Gotham premiere this fall, and managed to retain its rating throughout its hour (InsideTv call this a good sign... a good sign for who?) 
Insolent Politics
Sources: InsideTV, The Hollywood Reporter,

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