ComplexCon returns to Long Beach Nov. 6 - 7 with hosts J. Balvin and Kristen Noel Crawley, performances by A$AP Rocky and Turnstile, and more shopping and drops.
Secure your spot while tickets last!
Empire ended a blowout of a first season with its finale last night, but one prominent black scholar is not a fan of the show. Dr. Boyce D. Watkins, "The People’s Scholar," heavily criticized the hip-hop drama last night during a panel with Don Lemon. Watkins is the same scholar who called Tyler, the Creator's Mountain Dew video "arguably the most racist commercial in history" back in 2013.
Lemon asked Watkins about his comments calling Empire "ghettofied hood drama" and "coonery."
"A lot of black actors and actresses are just tired of being put in the 'entertainment ghetto,'" Wakins said. "'The entertainment ghetto’ is basically the place where you have roles that are shows that are specifically designed for black people, where black actors are kind of locked into."
When Watkins said Fox would never put such a dysfunctional white family on TV, Lemon disagreed, pointing to Dallas and Dynasty.
Fellow panelist Nischelle Turner, a journalist for Entertainment Tonight, argued that Empire's characters are multi-dimensional like a real African American family.
"Yes, you have Lucious, who came from the hood, and Cookie who came from the hood, but they have a son who is Ivy League-educated," she said. "They have a son who is gay and who is coming out but he is the most talented one in that family. It is a very diverse family. If you are calling it 'coonery,' then you might be calling the Turner family coonery, because I have a lot of these folks in my family."
The Grio entertainment editor Chris Witherspoon also disagreed, concluding: "This show is a cultural phenomenon. It’s bringing people — black, white, Latino — everyone is kind of coming to the TV set for the first time and watching a show. These characters are rich and deep… it is a big show that is opening doors and I think it’s shedding light on the diversity of black families."