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Fox’s new television series “Empire,” starring Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson, depicts a family struggling to control a  rap record label. The show highlights the struggles for power between music executives, sex and the use of drugs within the culture surrounding the Hip Hop music industry. “Empire,” created by  Daniels, also deals with homophobia in the Black community.

On Wednesday, Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now,” Cleo Manago, Kelly Carter, entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed  and Auba “Tommy” Bennett discussed how Fox’s new hit show addresses LGBT issues and some of the images that the show is promoting.

Manago told Martin he does not think the show “gives enough context regarding what’s happening in the Black community” as it relates to homosexuality. He added, African Americans are the last demographic in this country to talk about same-sex relationships in “direct ways.”


Lee Daniels Uses ‘Empire’ To Shine Light On Homophobia in Black Community

Manago also expressed concern over the representation of Black people in the show. He explained “All of the people that do the help are dark-skinned and all of the people that are luxurious are light-skinned” and the “underdeveloped homosexual story in terms of attitudes in the Black community towards the LGBT community” is not contextual enough to be helpful.

There is a message there that bothers me,” said Manago.

Bennett said,”I think this is one of the best shows in a long time” to address homosexuality. “I think it’s time to bring gay to the television screen, to the light and say exactly what it is.”

Carter, Senior Editor and entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed told Martin, “Empire” is Fox’s most successful new show in years.” She later stated, “I think largely it’s (Empire) is  growing because we’re finally having a conversation on primetime television that we’ve never seen before and that is homophobia and LGBT issues in the Black community.”

“It’s not going to be all things to all people, but it is a vey significant conversation that is being had right now amongst people, driven largely by social media.”

Listen to Martin, Manago, Bennett and Carter discuss the use of LGBT and homosexual storylines through the lens of Lee Daniels’ “Empire” in the audio clip below.

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

 Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.