Empire and Black Images in Popular Culture
Joshua K. Wright
FOX’s musical drama Empire has been hailed as the savior of broadcast television, drawing 15 million viewers a week. A “hip-hopera” inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear and 1980s prime-time soap Dynasty, the series is at the forefront of a black popular culture Renaissance—yet has stirred controversy in the black community. Is Empire shifting paradigms or promoting pernicious stereotypes?
Examining the evolution and potency of black images in popular culture, the author explores Empire’s place in a diverse body of literature and media, data and discussions on respectability.