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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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nancy dillinghamJamesj75ShayHarrysu000 Recent comment authors
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su000

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.

Jamesj75
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Jamesj75

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… Read more »

Harry
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Harry

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

Jamesj75
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Jamesj75

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

Shay
Guest
Shay

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… Read more »

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

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… Read more »

nancy dillingham
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nancy dillingham

Why?

Empire

‘Empire’ Favorite Taraji P. Henson to Host the American Music Awards

She played the fierce head of record label and music empire on TV, and now she is about to take on the hosting duties at one of music’s most popular nights of the year, when she hosts ABC’s American Music Awards.   News today has former Empire on Fox star, Taraji P. Henson (Ex-Cookie Lyon) taking on the key role in keeping the night moving and the music coming for music fans around the world.

The 2020 AMAs will air live on Sunday, November 22nd at 8:00 PM ET/PT.   In a statement on her latest gig, Henson expressed: “The AMAs brings together the music community to celebrate what really drives all artists – the fans,  I’m proud to take the stage as this year’s host – and also a fan – for what promises to be an electrifying night of music.”

And coming up the motion picture and television actress will put a spotlight on  mental wellness in a new talk show for Facebook Watch.  In addition, she is also currently developing an Empire spinoff with her production company.

Broadcasting live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, this year’s AMA nominees include The Weeknd and rapper Roddy Ricch, both with eight nominations, leading the pack of this year’s nominees.  Voting for the AMA’s continues and you can a vote in all categories here.

So, it seems to us that Taraji will be a great host for the AMA’s! What are your thoughts? Comment below.

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Breaking News

‘Empire’s’ Diamond White Lands Contract Role on The Bold and the Beautiful

Look for The Bold and the Beautiful to add to their cast with news on Thursday that Diamond White (previously see on Empire as Lala) will take on the role of Zoe’s (Kiara Barnes)sister, Paris Buckingham on the CBS daytime drama.

Paris and Zoe are the daughters of crime-ridden Dr. Reese Buckingham (Wayne Brady) who was sent to the slammer for his baby-switch plot involving baby Beth and his gambling debts.

White will begin taping her new role tomorrow on Friday, and will first are on the November 2nd episode of B&B.  Deadline first reported the news.

Besides her role on Empire, Diamond has had a recurring role on Netflix’s Dear White People, as well as a guest art on ABC’s Fresh off the Boat, and more,

Looks like the Buckingham sisters might have their eyes set on Carter (Lawrence Saint-Victor) , the incoming Zende (Delon de Metz) and who knows who else on the canvas!

So, what do you think about a new Buckingham in the mix on B&B? Comment below.

 

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Breaking News

Taraji P. Henson Developing Cookie Lyon ‘Empire’ Spinoff With New First-Look Deal Via 20th Century Fox

Looks like more ‘Cookie’ is on the way, if this long bantered about Empire spinoff takes place.  But, news today via Deadline makes the whole thing look more promising! Series star, Taraji P. Henson has signed a new first-look deal with 20th Century Fox where she would star and be one of the EP’s of the new show.

The show would be written by Empire EP Danny Strong with Stacy A. Littlejohn and Yolonda Lawrence, and Empire director Sanaa Hamri to take those reins again behind the camera.

Henson said in a statement on the deal: “I believe that normalizing stories around stigmatizing matters will make them more palatable for audiences to embrace.  Art can change perception and I plan to develop projects that can help further the conversation.  I also aim to help cultivate and establish new young talent and their stories because they are our future and deserve a voice and a platform to be heard. I’m so excited to have 20th, led by the talented Carolyn Cassidy, support me in this new endeavor!”

20th Century Fox TV president Carolyn Cassidy shared on Thursday: “We were lucky to have a front row seat to Taraji’s meteoric rise as a fixture on television through Empire.  Through that relationship everyone at the company grew to appreciate her passion for storytelling and her strong creative gut instinct. With Empire finished we look forward to helping her explore stories that need to be told through her talent and advocacy.”

Empire ended its sixth and final season a bit shorter than expected due to COVID-19 shutting down production, but now Henson has a way forward to tell us more of Cookie’s story.  This would just be one of the projects Henson would have under this deal with 20th Century Fox.

So, would you like to see more Cookie Lyon in a spinoff of Empire? Comment below.

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