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Now That ‘Empire’s’ Jamal Lyon Tied The Knot, What is Jussie Smollett’s Future With The Show? Cast Sends Letter Of Support

Photo: FOX

Looks like the writers and producers of Empire found a way to write out the character of Jamal Lyon permanently, or leave the door open if decisions are made to keep actor/singer Jussie Smollett (Jamal) on the series following his trouble with the law in Chicago stemming from faking a hate crime.  A crime that he had all charges dropped against him which has been shrouded in controversy, and has been a lightning rod on social media and the news.

On Wednesday night’s Empire, Jamal married Kai (Toby Onwumere) with Chaka Khan performing at the nuptials in an emotional episode. Even with the momentous TV occasion to see two gay black men getting hitched on network television, it was unfortunately overshadowed by all the behind the scenes drama.  For this season, Wednesday marked final episode for Smollett, who was cut out of the upcoming final two episodes of the season.  In story, the characters are sure to be on their honeymoon, and they could eventually wind up living in Europe, which would keep Jamal off the canvas.

The Fox network and creative personnel at Empire will need to make a decision on Smollett’s future.  While Empire had not received its renewal pick-up, its fairly certain it will live on to see another season    Meanwhile, the cast of Empire penned a letter asking Fox to bring Jussie back to the series.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Here is how it read:

Dear Charlie, Dana, Michael, Lee, Danny, Francie, Brian, Sanaa, Dennis, and Brett,

Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire.

We understand the past months have been difficult to process—sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal. Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character. He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.

Jussie has shown us on and off the set who he really is as a leader. In addition to being a caring friend and cast member who treats every crew member with love and respect, he has spent time with our families and individually supported each of us. These recent and detailed letters from The Black AIDS Institute, the Rainbow Push Coalition and the City Lights Orchestra shine a light on his commitment to true community service. Just a few months ago, Jussie partnered with the Trevor Project to provide support to their volunteer program that allows LGBTQ youth in crisis access to vital counseling services. Prior to that, he gave every cent from his sold out world tour to numerous charities. He has adopted a school in Chicago, taught songwriting to incarcerated youth at the Cook County Jail last year and bought the family of Kayden Kinckle, a six-year-old, double amputee, a wheelchair accessible van due to his school district not having a wheelchair accessible school bus. He has traveled to South Africa for service as well as to Jamaica to quietly meet about the safety of LGBTQ youth. This was all done without posturing, the need for attention or even discussion.

This is the Jussie we know.

It’s clearer every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our system of justice and the court of public opinion more unjust.

It is why now, more than ever, we must stand together as a family. A family is there for us in good times and bad. It can cut through the noise and confusion to understand that there is a person in the center of all this who deserves nothing more than to move forward with his life. We understand that this show is a business. And that business matters to us as well. We are confident our fans will welcome our “Jamal” back into the Empire family as enthusiastically as we will.

That is why we write today to ask you to keep Jussie on the cast so that we can all put this behind us and move forward. Thank you for taking time to hear us. It’s our hope that together we will move into our sixth season as the entire Empire family should.

SINCERELY,

Terrence Howard
Taraji P Henson
Bryshere Y. Gray
Trai Byers
Gabourey Sidibe
Nicole Ari Parker

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The Media whipped that whole mess into a public frenzy; Overkill..

I’ll sign the letter..

Jussie Smollett had All charges dropped against him.
This America, that is the way it is.
Jussie Smollett should 100% remain with Empire.

Okay, I didn’t speak up before, but I will do so now…

It is a shame that Smollett’s fellow cast members (and other supporters) are SO misguided. Smollett does not deserve any opportunity to return to his show, and other producers would be smart to avoid casting him ever again. This selfish punk is the one who stirred up a “public frenzy” by his own self-inflicted wounds, his own misguided actions. I happen to trust the police on this one. The evidence against Smollett is overwhelming. What caused the prosecutors to drop all charges against him is mystifying, but we have all seen miscarriages of justice before — O.J. anyone? Casey Anthony anyone?

To reiterate, Smollett first sent a threatening letter to himself. Then, with the help of two acquaintances, he staged a phony attack on himself, which was projected and sold as racial, homophobic hate crime. Other details are well documented. What Smollet did was an affront to African Americans, gays, and, well, decency!

Smollet’s actions were meant to evoke sympathy from the fans and producers of his show in hopes to expand his pocketbook and stardom. Well, he has certainly become notorious, but NOT in a good way!

James, I do agree and what is so detrimental is that his actions might cast doubt on real victims of hate crimes.

Thanks, Harry. And yes, the point you’re making is the most important and tragic consequence. Best to you, Harry!

Absolutely, James! Smollett’s repulsive and lawless attempt at self-promotion has managed to alienate and outrage decent people everywhere! I cannot think of any single incident in recent times which has so effectively coalesced such widespread disapproval, including that from normally disparate groups which tend to agree on very little else. The fact that even after this nearly-universal rebuke by the American public any individual could defend and continue to promote this remorseless and clearly guilty prevaricator really calls into question their own sense of what’s right and wrong. How one could excuse such inexcusable, and yes, criminal, behavior is truly beyond me. Perhaps it’s time for the entire “Empire” to go the way of ancient Rome, which also collapsed under its own weight of moral morass.

Thanks, Shay. The “nearly-universal rebuke” is staggering for this, as you rightly indicate, “criminal” behavior. I also enjoyed your linking of “Empire” to the fall of Rome!

And in case I am coming across as judgmental (though I know not to you, Shay), I have made more than my fair share of mistakes. And thankfully, I have apologized and tried to make amends for most of them. If only Smollett had attempted a modicum of self-awareness, remorse, and humility, it would have gone a long way to his redemption. Just as I have (sometimes) learned lessons when I have messed up, there are lessons to be learned from this fiasco. Best to you, Shay!

Why?

Empire

Taraji P. Henson Says She Fired Her Entire Team After They Failed to Capitalize on Her Success as ‘Empire’s’ Cookie Lyon

When Fox’s hit primetime soap opera, Empire, hit the air it became a smash hit, especially due to its lead female character, Cookie Lyon, as played by Taraji P. Henson.

The actress played Cookie for all she was worth and the some becoming one of the more original soap and television characters. After all, Cookie went to jail for 17 years before being released, and was the wife of former drug dealer, now music mogul, Lucious Lyon played by Terrence Howard.

Now, Taraji revealed all was not kosher behind the scenes during a sit-down interview for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation (see below). It was there, she revealed that she had to fire her entire PR team and more, because of how they failed to capitalize on her rousing success at the time as Cookie.

Photo: Fox

The moment came about during the Q&A Henson was asked what was the best business decision she ever made.  She swiftly answered: “Firing everybody after Cookie,” adding, “Everybody had to f**ing’ go. Where is my deal? Where’s my commercial? Cookie was at the top of the fashion game. Where is my endorsement? What did you have set up for after this? That’s why you all haven’t seen me in so long. They had nothing set up.”

Empire fans recall that a ‘Cookie’ prequel had been in the works to continue the character after the series was canceled after six seasons, but nothing happened. At the time reports shared, Danny Strong, co-creator of the Empire was said to be co-writing the series, and it would come through Henson’s new production banner.

Taraji explained what went down behind the scenes: “All they wanted was another Cookie show, and I said, ‘I’ll do it, but it has to be right. The people deserve, she’s to beloved for y’all to f**k it up.’ And so, when they didn’t get it right, I was like, ‘Well, that’s it,’ and they had nothing else. ‘You’re all f**ng fired.”

Photo: JPI

Henson added that she felt like she had Stockholm Syndrome from the entire situation, which is defines as a syndrome ‘where hostages sometimes develop a psychological bond with their captors.’ (Think Kevin, Y&R!) The moral of Henson’s story was to make sure the people you pay and who work for you, understand that you are the talent and nothing happens without you including them collecting a paycheck off you.

Henson can currently be seen in the musical version of The Color People in movie theatres everywhere.

Check out her emotional and enlightening conversation with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation below.

Now let us know, do you think Cookie Lyon was one of the best TV characters and should have either been spun off into her own show, or Henson should have appeared in more commercial and endorsement deals given the popularity of the character? Weigh-in via the comment section.

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Empire

Jussie Smollett Releases New Rap Single ‘Thank You God’ Speaking On the Injustice of His Court Case

Now that former Empire star, Jussie Smollett (Ex-Jamal Lyon) is out of jail while appealing his conviction for the 2019 Chicago hate crime hoax, in which he was at the epicenter, the singer/actor wasted no time dropping a rap single.

On his Instagram account, Smollett posted a short clip of a new rap song, which speaks about his court case and the injustices brought down upon him by the system.

The track entitled,“Thank You God,” features Smollett rapping lyrics like: “You think I’m stupid enough to kill my reputation?”  He also raps, that there will come a day when he can sit down and talk with his followers.  He gives a mention to “D.L.” who many believe is CNN anchor, Don Lemon, who was originally one of Smollett’s main advocates.

Jussie served 10 days of jail time of his sentence of 150 days before being released . He also has 30 months of probation ahead of him and was ordered to pay $120,106 to the city of Chicago and a $25,000 fine for his actions.

Smollett says any funds raised for “Thank You God” will be donated to the Illinois Innocence Project, Rainbow Push, Secure The Bag Safety.

Check out Jussie’s Instagram post containing the rap below/

Now let us know, what do you think about Smollett releasing this track and still defending his innocence? Comment below.

 

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A post shared by @jussiesmollett

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Breaking News

‘Empire’ Star, Jussie Smollett, Sentenced to 150 Days In Jail For Fake Hate Crime Attack

Late Thursday, former Empire actor and singer, Jussie Smollett, was sentenced in Chicago more than three months after being found guilty on five felony counts to the alleged 2019 hate crime hoax that made national headlines, and got the actor fired from the former Fox primetime drama series.

In the sentencing, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days starting immediately.  In addition, he received 30 months’ probation, and has to pay the city of Chicago $120,106 in restitution, plus Jussie received an additional $25,000 fine.

Cook County Judge James Linn, who levied the sentence, came down hard in his words on Smollett due his actions noting he was, “selfish, arrogant and narcissistic.”  The judge added, “You wanted to make yourself more famous throwing a national pity party for yourself. You’re just a charlatan, pretending to be the victim of a hate crime.”

Linn went in on Smollett for his ‘performance’ and ‘pure perjury’ when the actor took to the witness stand in his own defense last year.

At the end of his sentencing, Smollett pulled down his mask to speak. He then let everyone in the courtroom know that he feels he is innocent, adding, “Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this. And I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that.”

Just before he was taken into custody, Smollett yelled again that he was innocent and raised a fist in the air as he exited.

Watch the sentencing of Jussie Smollett below, then weigh-in.  Did Smollett get enough of a sentence for his crime? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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