The “Empire” strikes first

By Fred Singleton

When was the last time you’ve seen a network television show with a majority black cast, that is as well put together as the new hit series  “Empire.” The script is is phenomenal, cast and performances are off the meat rack. I’ll tell the last “Never…” Viewing the last past episodes has truly been a pleasure, Taraji P. Hendson and Terrence Howard thespianship is worthy of an Emmy. Because their acting is more than captivating it’s the true epitome of art imitating life. the story line is one for the history book. Therefore I’d like to personally thank the script writers, producers and last but not least Lee Daniels the show director for his breathe taking visuals.
To create such a show that encapsulate black culture, and at the same time transcend the stereo-typical aspect of the every day hustles ambition is truly a feet in my opinion. Actually there’s very little about this show that is typical, starting with Taraji’s character “Cookie” the mother of three children who goes to jail for drug dealing leaving the father of her child/Rapper Terrence Howard left with the responsibility of raising their children.
Then you have the premise of the show being about a rap label started by a street hustler, attempting to take his company public i.e. Wallstreet, nothing typical there! Furthermore the intricate storyline and the development of the supporting cast, has a unique way of supplying its audience with the unpredictable. For example the character “Jamal”, Terrence’s gay son who has been conflicted about coming out to the world about his homosexuality, then enters the video director hired by his father who unbeknownst to his father is also gay, who encourages Jamal to come out. The eldest son “Andre” who struggles with acceptance issues, married to a Caucasian women, and dealing with severe anxiety issues. Andre’s characters deepest conflicts lie’s in his battle for his fathers approval, do to his lack of musical talent unlike his siblings.
The beauty if this series compared to other urban stories which often times has the same plot, with the average hood story ending i.e. Drug dealer get money, starts a record label, friend snitches and the key character wind up dead or in jail.  Yet Empire, constantly leave you in suspense with it’s innovative twist and turns at the end of every episode one finds themselves saying “What the hell is next.” This series is “Son of Anarchy-meets-New Jack City” where this story will end, all are still wondering. But one things for sure I’ll be watching and it’s my recommendation that you do the same.

Fred Singleton
My name is Fred Singleton, I'm a 44 year native of Washington D.C., I've currently been incarcerated for 20 years, for armored truck robbery and gun offenses. Over the years of my incarceration, I've acquired somewhat of a passion for critiquing movies and television show, you might say I'm what convicts deem "The jails house critic." That being so, one of the editors of Convict Soap Box saw this as an talent and has requested that I write a ratings column for the Entertainment section of CSB. Now when the idea was first presented to me. I wasn't quite sure if this was something I wanted to get involved with., I'm not going to lie, I couldn't see his vision for what it was, but after reading the edited version of my first column. I am now inspired to do this to the best of ability. Finally my passion for cinema now has a purpose. I'm looking forward to providing my perspective about the pro's and cons of what television and the silver screen has to offer. From the latest and greatest television series all the way down to throw back classic's you can download or pick up on DVD.
In closing, I'm glad to be a part of this movement, and I pray the world support's it.