Actor, producer, and director Lee Daniels (pictured), who is known for his uncompromising body of film work, is reportedly using his new Fox series “Empire” to expose the serious problem of homophobia that he feels is running “rampant” in the Black community, according to the Huffington Post.
The game-changing show is already a huge hit for the Fox network stars Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson. Howard, who sits at the helm of his hip-hop recording label dynasty, has a gay son with Henson, who just got out of prison after a 17-year sentence. Howard seemingly abhors his son because of his sexual preference and is estranged from him.
The award-winning “Precious” director has revealed that portions of the show’s storyline reflect his own turbulent childhood, which was rocked by his policeman father who reportedly beat him regularly because he had no understanding or tolerance for a son who exhibited early on that he was gay.
Daniels’ dad was just a product of his overall community, though, “Homophobia is rampant in the African-American community, and men are on the DL,” he said according to the Huffington Post. “They don’t come out, because your priest says, your pastor says, mama says, your next-door neighbor says, your homie says, your brother says, your boss says [that homosexuality is wrong]. And they are killing African-American women. They are killing our women. So I wanted to blow the lid off more on homophobia in my community.”
Therefore, Daniel’s Shakespeare-inflected show is making an attempt to increase tolerance among its viewers, “The things that my father said to me because of his homophobia frightened the devil out of me…but that’s what’s taught in most [African-American and Latino] households throughout the world. What we’re really trying to do…is give people an opportunity to see what they’re doing is painful. It’s crushing someone who could be beautiful.”
“Empire” airs on Wednesdays, 9 p.m. EST/8 pm C on Fox.