Terrence Howard plays Lucious Lyons on the hit show “Empire.” Like the rest of the TV fathers he seems to love his children (‘even’ the gay one, albeit differently, tainted with disappointment). This role reflects the Black anti-father possessing the most negative values and stereotypical ‘hood’ behavior imaginable. In the pilot episode Lyons tells his story “I started selling drugs when I was nine years old in Philadelphia. I did it to feed myself. But, it was the music that played in my head that kept me alive when I thought I was gonna get shot. And, it was the melodies that I dreamed about that kept me warm while I was sleeping in the streets. You see, music saved my life.”
Definitely not a family sitcom but a gritty urban drama, there are few redeeming family values shown on this program. This show is urban music centered and skews toward a younger audience who arguably is not opposed to scheming to get ahead in a corrupt system. The characters on “Empire” don’t embrace the traditional work ethic and ‘play-by-the-rules’ mindset of the “Cosby Show.” But, remember — it was not meant to be another “Cosby Show.” It is simply unadulterated salacious entertainment.