How Empire (Series) Changes Lives!

Name: Joshua

Age: 25

Country: Tanzania

When it comes to movies and series, I tend to shy away from the ones which are too famous, the ones that everyone can’t stop talking about. It is like they repulse me; they make me question their importance. Sometimes I feel they might be too relatable, to everyone. Now, that is not good. I am different, I am special. I need something different. But then again I am a bit selfish, selfish even to the things I like. I want to like them alone, don’t bring a crowd.

I remember this is what happened to Harry Potter and Breaking Bad. They were too gigantic, titans that at the end, capsized even before reaching me.

Empire narrowly escaped a similar fate. Up to when the 1st season had ended, I hadn’t brought myself to watch it. Everyone was blabbering about it. Too much noise was about to capsize this titanic but something happened and I decided to watch it, break the traditions; it is 2015 already.

A colleague talked about Empire; vague enough to say what it is about without making one really understand the plot. But I guess I smelled the gayness when I saw a couple of famous gay people instagramming it. So I downloaded the 12 episodes and I watched them back to back. With every episode my interests grew.

Jamal came on screen and captivated me. It was not just the story that he was telling but also how delicious he looked. He had his Latino and life was amazing of course apart from the shitty life his father was giving him. I quickly followed him on Instagram. After the 12 episodes, Empire Season 2 was on my “waiting patiently” list. I was happy that I had another work of art that dealt with the LGBT issues.

So one day, I was having a conversation with another queer friend. Our conversation was on how Empire has affected the straight black community in the US and Africa, specifically in my country.

 “How could they be so against homos and still watch the show and wait for Season 2?”

“Do they just fast forward when it comes to Jamal’s storyline?”

“What did they think of the scene when Cookie found Jamal and his deliciously bred Latino in bed?”

“Is the show making them change their perspectives if there are any that need changing?”

I had many questions.

“Why don’t you ask your young brother what he thinks of it?”

The idea was intriguing and scary at the same time. Of course I knew asking him would be the make or break moment. I might end up finding out he is quite homophobic or he might surprise me with something interesting. After my mind twisted and tasted the idea on its palate, I agreed to jump into cold water in a winter day.

One night during our chats I decided to pop the question.

“There is this new show that everyone is talking about. Empire. Have you seen it?”

“Yes I have, it is amazing. I thought you had seen it already,” he replied.

“No, I haven’t yet. What is it about?” I lied to him.

He gave me a rundown of what the show is about, more like a general summary without saying anything about Jamal.

“I will watch it then and we will exchange notes,” I told him.

After a week, I decided to get back to him and start the conversation.

We started off talking about who would have been the best candidate to inherit the Empire, if Luscious was really dying. In what seemed to be possibly a consensus, no one deserved to really inherit the business. We all love Cookie but she is not a CEO material with her out-spoken manner, crazy personality and emotional drives. Now Jamal and Hakeem have one problem in common that Andre doesn’t. They are artists and they need to focus on their music. Hakeem is possibly even less matured and unstable of the two. But then again, though Andre has gone to school with the hope of one day running the Empire, he might send it into a bipolar frenzy.

The consensus was that, they would need to hire someone from outside the family.

“What do you think of Jamal’s storyline?” I asked him.

I am going to use one paragraph to explain what he said. He felt Jamal was mistreated by his father because in reality we are who we are; you can’t change that. He believes that gay people deserve similar rights like straights.

“People are against it, until one of their own is gay then things change,” he said.

I want you as a reader to imagine the state I was in after hearing this from him. I was ecstatic and scared at the same time. I couldn’t believe he could have such a mentality; I guess we tend to judge people harshly. He is gay-friendly; exactly what the LGBT community needs. He is one of a kind.

I told my friend about the conversation I had with my young brother. I also told him about my desire to come out to him soon. But he said I shouldn’t. I was confused. He was worried that things might change or I might open a Pandora box that might have some repercussions.

“What if he tells your parents in the spirit of helping you, when you are not ready?”

“What if he outs you by mistake because he thinks he’s cool with it?”

I am confused now; I don’t know what to do.

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