Most importantly, it’s showing that doing so isn’t just about earning a pat on the back from critics; it’s good business sense.
The 2015 Hollywood diversity report was scathing in its analysis of the presence of minorities in both American film and television.
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Australian audiences will have to wait some weeks to see the final episode of the series, which screened in the US last week.
Lucious, diagnosed with ALS and given three years to live, is frantic to cement his legacy by taking his music label public and appointing a worthy heir from among his sons – Andre, Jamaal, and Hakim.
Well, I’m enjoying letting Empire, currently screening on Channel Ten, prove me wrong.
Tracking the Lyon family, headed by black hip-hop star turned music mogul Lucious Lyon, Empire employs the formulae of prime-time dramas – misunderstandings, shady business dealings, betrayal, murder – but electrifies them by foregrounding “risky” elements such as race, sexuality, and class.
Empire is effectively proving that diversity isn’t a dirty word.
It’s black, it’s queer, and it’s not apologetic about that.
Rukmini Pande does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
University of Western Australia provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.
It’s easy then to see how Empire is breaking new ground in casting, content, and platform.
The fact that it’s on Channel Ten is important as prime-time broadcast TV remains a conservative market, with more experimental programming usually found on cable networks such as HBO or newer distribution models such as Netflix.
But there are more complications than he anticipated, including the show’s well-hailed X-factor, Cookie (Taraji P.