By Alana Roche |Staff Writer|
Characters who play homosexual roles are becoming more common in mainstream television with the help of Fox’s show, “Empire” which has quickly risen to fame with an increasing fan base.
It’s a T.V. series about a man named Lucious Lyon, played by Howard, who owns a top record company. He just found out he has a fatal illness and wants to choose one of his three sons to inherit and run his thriving company.
His middle child, Jamal Lyon is a young man who is gay but his homophobic father is against him.
As a child, his father saw him trying on his mother’s high heels and he angrily placed his son in a trash can.
During the show, Jamal tells his partner that “there is too much homophobia in the black community” for him to be accepted to be the next CEO of his father’s company.
When Jamal talks to his father about his sexuality, his father says “your sexuality, that’s a choice, you can choose to sleep with women,” which shows how ignorant his father is about homosexuality.
Throughout the show, Jamal continues to be unable to please his father and feels like he will never be able to live up to his father’s expectations.
When asked about the show, Daniels told Fox News, “He wants to blow the lid off homophobia” in the African-American community.
During his interview, he talks about how “his own father’s hostility toward gays frightened him and he knows the same attitudes are being passed on from one generation to another in households around the world.” Howard told Fox that he is aware of this problem within the African American community and said, “I’m glad that I can show the African American community that this is what you’re doing to your son, this is what you’re doing to your nephew, this is what you’re doing to the kid down the street.”
Although “Empire” highlights
homophobia in the African-American community, it is also seen everywhere else.
When I asked, Kirsten Wilson, a member of the Pride association on campus, said that this story automatically made her think of a picture she saw on Tumblr.
Wilson also believes that parents aren’t properly prepared for raising homosexual children. “Shouldn’t have a child if they’re not ready for how it comes out,”said Wilson. She believes it’s positive for “Empire” to be on air promoting homosexuality on television and it is “good to add to media and normalize it.”
The issue is that society still hasn’t fully accepted homosexuality.
Another member of the Pride association Ambur Wilkerson agrees with Howard’s view that homophobic people need to see what they are doing.
Wilkerson added, “People connect to what they see on television, seeing something touchy makes you connect […to the character] and makes them think.”
Although CSUSB does have a successful Pride Center, Wilkerson believes that there is homophobia on this campus.
She said “Some people don’t want to come in […to the pride center] because of their homophobia.”
Throughout the Pride Center, there are several signs that prohibit homophobia and keep the room a safe zone.
The show “Empire” is helping make homosexuality a norm for television, making its everyday characters more relatable to what’s happening in society.