Empire‘s hip-hop mogul and Lyon patriarch Lucious (Terrence Howard) has not been quiet about his disapproval of son Jamal’s (Jussie Smollett) homosexuality, and the expression on his face during the white party said it all about how he felt that his son not only came out publicly, but also did so by remixing one of his own songs.
But Lucious is the past, and the Lyon sons are the future — of Empire Entertainment, of the music industry, of society in general. Jamal was embraced by literally everyone else after his song ended to huge applause. His younger brother Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) told him it was the bravest thing he had ever seen, and soon, in the ninth episode, “Unto the Breach,” major recording artist Delphine (Estelle) will echo the sentiment.
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It took Jamal a long time to get where he is now, perhaps best marked by his willingness to go along with his father’s decision to have him marry Olivia (Raven-Symone) just a few years earlier.
“When we are essentially owned by someone, whether it’s an employer or a parent, it’s very difficult to break away and be free, and I think that it was just another situation where the brilliance of Lucious Lyon manipulated the situation. He’s very much a puppet master [and] it took a long time for Jamal to cut those strings,” Smollett said.
The combination of support from others and his self-confidence has finally brought Jamal to a place where he is standing up for himself, for his business and for what is right for both. Of course, that doesn’t mean Lucious is ready to lie down and let his middle child take over.
“You’ll see the butting of the heads, but you’ll also see that with that said, there is also a certain level of ‘I don’t give a f–‘ that comes from Jamal. There’s an ‘I don’t give a f–‘ attitude that Lucious has had, and now we see it in Jamal, too. [And] Lucious is left with no other option; whether he agrees or disagrees with Jamal’s decision, he has no other option except, man to man, to respect him as a man,” Smollett recently told The Hollywood Reporter.
With Anika (Grace Gealey) feeling scorned and potentially spilling secrets to Lucious’ rival, it’s a scramble at Empire Entertainment to ensure the biggest clients are happy and solid in their contracts. See the way Lucious and Jamal first begin to butt heads over the methods of doing so in this exclusive clip from “Unto the Breach,” below.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.