Jamal From Empire Jussie Smollett Plays Jamal Lyon

The cast of Empire will be back with us on September 21, 2016!

Jamal From Empire
Jamal From Empire
While Empire’s entire cast is fascinating, the breakthrough star is Jussie Smollett who plays Jamal Lyon.  Jamal, Cookie and Lucious’ middle son, is a musical prodigy yet Lucious disapproves of his sexual orientation.  In Empire’s first season the gifted singer fights hard to prove his worth and Lucious names him successor of Empire Entertainment.
Jamal From Empire
Jamal From Empire

This article will discuss Jussie Smollett’s life before Empire and his feeling on homophobia in the African American community.  Next, the talented singer’s songs will be presented and his Pepsi deal will be analyzed.  The final section will evaluate Jamal’s relationship on the show.  Use the contents section to below to jump to items of interest.

Contents
A Star Is Born
Smollett Family
Jussie Smollett on Homophobia
Trash Can Scene
Jussie Praises Beauty of Black Woman
Jamal Empire Songs
Next Pepsi Artist
Lucious Lyon
Cookie Lyon
Andre Lyon
Hakeem Lyon
Olivia Lyon
Lola Lyon
Michael Sanchez
Ryan Morgan
Skye Summers

Jamal From Empire Cookie
Jamal From Empire Cookie

A Star Is Born
Jussie Langston Mikha Smollett was born on June 21, 1983 in Santa Rosa, CA.  Smollett made his acting debut in the film Little Piece of Heaven with Lacey Chabert. In 1992, Smollett appeared in The Mighty Ducks as Terry Hall.

Jussie Smollett Mighty Ducks
Jussie Smollett Mighty Ducks

In 1994 Smollett appeared in the film North and then decided to take a break from acting.  Smollett attended three high schools including Calabasas and Malibu.  In 2012, Smollett released his EP Poisoned Hearts Club and he also appeared in The Skinny.

Jamal From Empire Jussie Smollett
Jamal From Empire Jussie Smollett

Empire is Smollett’s most successful gig to date and has landed him a contract with Columbia Records.  Smollett is only 32 years old yet many have already deemed him an icon for coming out on Ellen last year.

Smollett Family
Jussie Smollett and his five siblings (Jazz, Jocqui, Jake, Jojo and Jurnee) appeared together in the ABC Family show “On Our Own” from 1994-1995.  The show is about a family who lost their parents in a car accident and are being raised by the oldest brother.

Smollett Family On Our Own
Smollett Family On Our Own

Sadly, Jussie Smollett lost his father to cancer on the day of Empire’s first season premiere.  Joel was Jewish and Jussie Smollett’s mother is of African, Native American and Northern European descent.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Jamal’s younger sister, is also a star! The actress is best known for her roles in “The Great Debaters”, “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor and “True Blood”.  The talented actress earned critical acclaim for her role in the 1997 film “Eve’s Bayou”.

Jurnee and Jussie Smollett
Jurnee and Jussie Smollett

Jussie Smollett on Homophobia
50 Cent blamed Empire’s second season ratings drop on the show’s gay plots.  50 is not the only person who had a problem with the show’s “gay stuff”.

Jamal From Empire
Jamal From Empire

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Jussie Smollett explains that homophobia is a problem in the entire music industry, not just hip-hop.  “Let it show, this is not an isolated incident.  Homophobia is a human epidemic.”

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Homophobia Is A Human Epidemic
The show’s first episode included a very popular scene.  In an unforgettable flashback Jamal puts on his mother’s red pumps and a turquoise scarf and Lucious goes crazy, picks his son up, takes him outside and puts him in a trash can.

Empire Lucious Jamal Trash Can
Empire Lucious Jamal Trash Can

The scene was so over-the-top that it’s hard to imagine it actually that the events could be the least bit realistic.  What father would put his son in the trash can!? William Daniels, Lee Daniels father.  The sad truth is that the scene is based on an actual occurrence from Daniels’ past.  After his father caught him wearing heals he put him in a trash can. 

In an interview with Deadline Terrence Howard explains that he couldn’t look at Daniels while shooting the scene because the award winning director was in tears.  Howard explains, “His mother was also on the set.  It was cathartic for Lee.  Lee would not allow me to show any compassion in the scene.  He reminded me how much Lucious loved little Jamal, but my need for the boy to be a strong man was greater than my need to show my love to him.  That was a difficult scene.”

Jusssie Praises Beauty of Black Women
The following video clip shows Jussie expressing his love for black women and he also shared who he was most excited to see at the ESSENCE Fest:

Jamal Empire Songs
Numerous songs by Jussie Smollett have been featured on the soundtracks for Empire Season 1 and 2.  “Good Enough” was written by Timbaland, Jim Beanz and Daniel Jones.  The three talented writers also teamed up on “Nothing to Lose” performed by Jussie Smollett and Terrence Howard.

Timbaland and Jim Beanz also teamed up to write the song “No Apologies” which featured Jussie Smollett and Yazz.

Jussie teamed up with Estelle (played Delphine on Empire) to create the duet “Conqueror” delivered on the show’s “Unto the Breach” episode.  The amazing single appeared on Estelle’s “True Romance” album and was even remixed in order to pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Conqueror” was written by Jaramye Daniels, Kyle Henry, Angel Higgs, Claude Kelly, Akil C. King, Bailey Owens and Estelle herself.  Estelle and Jussie were friend prior to the Empire TV show and she has also worked with Taraji P. Henson and the award-winning singer also knows Terrence Howard.

After hearing about the show Estelle made it clear that she would love to be a part of it and after producers heard the the song they knew it would be perfect for the show.  Delphine came to Empire Entertainment before yet Lucious Lyon passed on the amazing singer.  
After Delphine blew up Lucious tried to fix his mistake and sign the superstar.  Jamal is one of the singer’s biggest fans.  Estelle made the following statement regarding her role as Delphine: “I was trying to channel Diana Ross and what I would imagine Shirley Bassey was like when she was younger.  She’s very real, but she has a very regal energy.  I tried to channel that into the character, and it wasn’t too far off.  I like that Empire chooses people and character that aren’t too far away from who they already are.”
The first season’s bonus disc featured even more songs by Smollett including “Lola”, “What the DJ Says” and “Come Away With Me”.  Additional Jussie Smollett songs from the show’s first season include “Live in the Moment” which featured Jussie and Yazz, “Tell the Truth” and “Up All Night”.
Empire’s Season 2 Soundtrack also featured numerous songs by Jussie Smollett.  “Born to Love U” was written by Jonathan Rotem, Teal Douville and Talay Riley and produced by J.R. Rotem and Teal Douville.  
Jussie teamed up with Pitbull on the hit “No Doubt About It” written by Shaffer Smith, Jesse “Corparal” Wilson and Tearce “Kizzo” Person.  The song was produced by Ne-Yo and Jesse “Corparal” Wilson.

Jussie and Yazz teamed up on the track “Ain’t About the Money” which was written by Shaffer Smith, Sixx Johnson, Jason Lee York, Jesse “Corparal” Wilson and Reynell Hay.  The song was produced by Ne-Yo and Jesse “Corparal” Wilson.

“Never Love Again” was written by Shaffer Smith and Charles T. Harmon.  The track was produced by Ne-Yo who also produced “Heavy” alongside Jesse “Corparal” Wilson.  “Heavy” was written by Shaffer Smith, Jesse “Corparal” Wilson, Tierce A.J. Person and Reynell Hay.

Next Pepsi Artist
Following the footsteps of Michael Jackson, Jamal Lyon is Pepsi’s new face.  Jamal Lyon’s Pepsi advertisement will not only appear on the show it will also live outside of Empire with Jussie Smollett.  A second commercial that is very similar to one seen on the show will air starring Jussie Smollett as himself.

In Empire’s “My Bad Parts” episode Jamal is presented with the opportunity to work with Pepsi but the talented artist must submit a song worthy enough to seal the deal.  In order to create the perfect sound Jamal uses contributions from both Cookie and Lucious which the two didn’t agree with at first.

Jamal Empire Pepsi Commercial
Jamal Empire Pepsi Commercial

Jamal almost gives up on the project after he invites Cookie and Lucious to the studio and they act the absolute fool! Hakeem saves the day: “Don’t ask, just take.  You gotta take parts from both of them and fuse them together for yourself.
Jamal follows Hakeem’s advice and then performs the track live, landing the Pepsi deal ultimately taking his career to the next level.  The following video provides a more in-depth analysis of Jamal and Empire’s partnership with Pepsi:

Ready To Go https://www.empireboobookitty.com/2015/11/jussie-sollett-pepsis-new-face.html #empire #empirefox #pepsi #jussiesmollett #empireseason2
Posted by Empire Boo Boo Kitty on Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) is Jamal’s father.  Throughout the entire first season Jamal begs his father to love and accept him.  Lucious and Jamal have been through it all: A flashback shows the two visiting Cookie in prison.  “Go in there and tell your mama I love her, and don’t come back here crying.” At an early age Lucious began teaching Jamal the wrong lessons.  Here, Lucious teaches Jamal that tears are wrong.

Lucious and Jamal’s relationship has improved by the show’s second season.  Lucious is territorial about Jamal’s career, preventing him from working with Cookie and encouraging him to break up with Michael.  The two collaborate for Jamal’s Pepsi song showing how much progress they have made.

Lucious and Jamal Empire
Lucious and Jamal Empire

While Lucious has improved he still has work to do when it comes to accepting Jamal’s sexual orientation.  Although Lucious saw beyond Jamal’s homosexuality in naming him his successor to head Empire, Lucious’ reaction to Jamal and Skye hooking up reveals that the former CEO of Empire still has a substantial amount of work to do.

In Empire’s midseason finale Lucious states, “Ain’t that a bitch” after he finds out that him and Jamal have both been nominated for American Sound Awards.  Jamal’s manager, Jamison (William Fichtner) predicted Jamal’s nomination for Song of the Year.  Jamison hates Lucious, who received his Song of the Year nomination for “Boom Boom Boom Boom” featuring Freda Gatz.

Cookie Lyon
Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) is Jamal’s mother.  In Empire’s first scene of the show’s initial season, Cookie is released from prison and her first stop is Jamal’s house showing how close the two are despite Cookie’s 17 years behind bars.

Cookie and Jamal share a special bond and Cookie will do anything to help Jamal achieve his goals.  Although the two are close Jamal never told Cookie about his relationship with Michael.  Cookie is surprised to find out about the relationship in the show’s first episode but she makes it clear that she loves Jamal no matter who he decides to date.

Jamal and Cookie Empire
Jamal and Cookie Empire

After Lucious puts Jamal in a trash can for wearing heels Cookie rushes to retrieve her middle-son, letting Lucious know that he has lost his mind.  Jamal remembers instances like these and loves Cookie for always having his back.

With Cookie and Jamal attempting to hide their relationship from Hakeem and Lucious the two were unable to share their love for each other as frequently as they wished and they missed out on opportunities to create the spectacular music they are known for.

Now that Hakeem has left Lyon Dynasty and Lucious is no longer the CEO of Empire, Cookie and Jamal can collaborate as much as they wish without hurting anyone’s feelings! It will be interesting to see if Jamal decides to leave Empire and join Lyon Dynasty.

Andre Lyon
Andre Lyon (Trai Byers) is Jamal’s older brother.  In the show’s first season Andre was a different person.  As Cookie and Lucious’ oldest son, without musical talent, Andre doesn’t think that Lucious will give him the opportunity to lead Empire Entertainment.  As a result, Andre decides that he must take extreme measures in order to prove his worth.

Andre’s wife, Rhonda, made things worst constantly encouraging him to take actions that would negatively impact his brother to make him stand out as the most-worthy of the three to takeover company.  Andre got Hakeem’s friends to rob Jamal while Jamal was recording at “Ghetto Ass Studios”.

Andre and Jamal Empire
Andre and Jamal Empire

Andre has come a long way since the show’s initial season.  In order to prepare for his baptism he comes clean about arranging the stick up.  The confession doesn’t sit well with Hakeem at first but Jamal immediately forgives Andre and then Hakeem follows suit.

With Andre potentially losing a child this season he is certain to need Jamal’s support.  While the two don’t interact much they have each back as seen when they came together to help Hakeem overcome being kidnapped.

Hakeem Lyon
Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Y. Gray) is Jamal’s younger brother on the show.  The two go through ups and downs throughout both seasons of Empire.  In Empire’s first season Hakeem complains that Cookie loves Jamal more yet Cookie explains that she simply knows Jamal better.

Hakeem and Jamal have a serious rivalry yet they always find their way back to each other.  After Hakeem’s friends rob Jamal at “Ghetto Ass Studios” Jamal jumps to the conclusion that Hakeem set him up so Jamal punches him in the stomach.

Jamal and Hakeem Empire
Jamal and Hakeem Empire

Hakeem was very upset after Lucious chooses Jamal as his successor.  In Empire’s “Poor Yorick” episode Hakeem and Jamal fight at the end of Jamal’s video shoot because Hakeem is jealous about Jamal’s success.

Empire “Et Tu, Brute” episode may have worsened Jamal and Hakeem’s relationship: Unlike Jamal, Hakeem doesn’t receive any American Sound Award’s (ASA) nominations.  Now that Hakeem is the head of Empire Entertainment it will be interesting to see what happens to Jamal’s career.

Michael Sanchez
Michael Sanchez (Rafael de la Fuente) is Jamal’s boyfriend yet the couple has called it quits in season  1 and 2 of Empire.  Michael is an aspiring chef who lives with Jamal in the show’s first season.  Once Cookie is released from prison Jamal’s fame increases leading Michael to feel threatened.

Michael breaks up with Jamal in the show’s first season because he does not think Jamal has time for him due to his busy career and daughter.  Michael is also upset because Jamal refuses to acknowledge his sexuality in public.

Jamal and Michael Empire
Jamal and Michael Empire

Jamal and Michael get back together in the show’s second season.  Jamal and Ne-Yo will be hitting the road together and Lucious advises Jamal not to take Michael along.  Ne-Yo tells Jamal not to listen to his father.

Michael cheats on Jamal with the sleazy photographer who shot Jamal’s Rolling Stone cover.  Although Jamal is a superstar who can have anything he wants the one man he loves hurts him because he’s threatened by Jamal’s fame.


Olivia Lyon
Olivia Lyon (Raven-Symoné) is Jamal’s ex-wife who appears in the show’s first season.  Olivia is a hair stylist who Lucious forced Jamal to marry when he was 18 years old.  Olivia shows up at Empire with her and Jamal’s daughter, Lola and disappears.

We later find out that Olivia actually left Lola at Empire’s office to save her from her abusive boyfriend.  In Empire’s “Sins of the Father” episode Olivia’s boyfriend, Reg, forces Olivia take him to Lola.

Olivia and Jamal Empire
Olivia and Jamal Empire

 Olivia and Reg meet Vernon who brings them to Lucious’ mansion.  Jamal recognizes the tension between Reg and Olivia and Olivia admits that Reg has been hurting Lola.  Jamal sees Reg’s “scary bird” tattoo that has been causing Lola’s nightmares so he attacks Reg.  
Before Jamal can make his way across the room Reg has his gun out leading Lucious to intervene.  Lucious confesses that he is actually Lola’s father but before Reg can react, Malcolm, head of security for Empire Entertainment, shoots Reg in the head.
Lola Lyon
Lola Lyon (Sava Jeffries) is Jamal’s sister who he thought was his daughter before Lucious revealed the truth.  When Lola meets Jamal, Olivia explains that she knows all of his songs and Lola sings a big of Jamal’s newest song.

Malcolm (Derek Luke) and Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) find Lola alone on the elevator after Olivia leaves her at Empire’s offices and they inform Lucious and Cookie.  Lucious tells them to bring him Lola and Becky entertains her.

Lola and Jamal Empire
Lola and Jamal Empire

Lucious is happy to move Lola into his mansion and it all makes sense after we find out that Lola is actually his daughter.  In one of my absolute favorite scenes Jamal and Hakeem sing Lola a bedtime song.  The little Lyon also inspired Jamal’s song “Lola”.

Lola brought Lucious and Jamal together in an awkward way: To save Jamal’s life Lucious explains that he is Lola’s father and he deserves to die.  We haven’t seen Lola since Empire’s first season but we are sure they’ll be back!

Ryan Morgan
Ryan Morgan (Eka Darville) is a cutting edge filmmaker Lucious hires to create his documentary and film Empire’s White Party.  After Jamal records an interview, Ryan asks Jamal out for a drink.  Jamal advises Ryan to hide his sexuality around Lucious but Ryan refuses explaining that Lucious can kiss his ass if he doesn’t accept his sexual orientation.

At dinner Ryan and Jamal discuss how difficult it is growing up gay with an African American father.  Ryan advises Jamal to separate himself from his father to see what the world is like minus Lucious.

Jamal Ryan Empire
Jamal Ryan Empire

After Jamal records a song for Lola he has a conversation with Ryan about his plans for the future.  Jamal explains to Ryan that he is thinking about moving Lola out of Lucious’ house.  “I’m thinking about taking her off his hands” Jamal explains.

Although Jamal is not asking for Ryan’s permission the suggestion does not sit well with the filmmaker.  Ryan explains that he is not interested in being a co-parent.

Skye Summers
Skye Summers (Alicia Keys) plays a famous singer who teams up with Jamal thanks to Lucious.  Alicia Keys’ mother in real life plays her mother on Empire! A press conference is held to announce Jamal’s new album Black and White and Lucious explains that Jamal will collaborate with Skye on the first track.  Skye wants to try a new lane and Jamal encourages her to do so.

The pair create the song “Powerful” and they get very close throughout the process.  The track is a departure from the girl power pop Skye usually creates so Skye is scared that fans may not understand the transition.

Jamal and Skye Empire
Jamal and Skye Empire

The two share a kiss surprising many Empire fans considering the fact that Jamal is gay! Lucious is excited about Jamal and Skye’s connection stating, “she fixed you” after realizing Jamal hit that.  Jamal tells Lucious that he is still gay yet Lucious doesn’t believe him.
At the ASA nominations Charlamagne calls out Skye about associating herself with black or white at any time and uses Jamal as an example.  Skye gets angry at Jamal for failing to defend her but eventually the two settle things.

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