It’s been nearly a decade since Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard teamed up to break into the rap game in the film Hustle & Flow, but the dynamic duo is back together and are one again taking fans inside the music business.
In Lee Daniels’ upcoming Fox drama Empire, Howard plays Lucious Lyon, the powerful patriarch of one of rap’s most profitable families. Lyon rose from the streets to runs a successful label—Empire Entertainment—and “has never backed away from a fight and will resort to any measures, fair or foul, to defend his beloved Empire.”
Howard plays Lucious Lyon, a charismatic, but tough chief of a record label titled Empire Entertainment, which is on the verge of an IPO.
Henson is Cookie Lyon, the ex-wife of Lucious Lyon, who’s described as a “total badass” with a prison record (she served 17 years for dealing drugs, and used the money to help finance Lucious’ growing music empire, when it was still in its early days). She’s now out of prison, and has come for what’s hers!
Jussie Smollett plays their son, Jamal, a fledgling rapper himself, who is also gay – something that Lucious, the father, has a problem with.
Macy Gray will appear as Tasha, a woman having an affair with Bryshere Y. Gray’s character, Hakeem Lyon, Lucious’ other son, the youngest, and Lucious’ favorite, and the frontrunner to take over his father’s empire.
Trai Byers will play Andre, Lucious’ oldest son, described as tall and brilliant, but with a dark side, and Grace Gealey will play Anika, the head of A&R for Empire Entertainment, and Lucious’ current girlfriend.
Malik Yoba will play Lucious’ longtime friend from the streets and business associate, who is now Empire Entertainment’s chairman of the board.
Finally, Gabourey Sidibe will recur as Lucious’ hard-working assistant Becky.
Greed, homophobia, backstabbing, and scheming—oh my! Sounds like the makings of an interesting show full of juicy drama.
Fox recently announced that it ordered the series, which was written and directed by Lee Daniels and his Butler cowriter, Danny Strong.
Take a look: