‘Empire’s’ Brave Bipolar Journey

‘Empire’s’ Brave Bipolar Journey

This photo provided by Fox shows, from left, Jussie Smollet as Jamal, Terrence Howard as Lucious, and Bryshere Gray as Hakeem, in a scene from "Sins of the Father" episode of "Empire," airing Wednesday, March 11, 2015 (9:01-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) on Fox. (AP Photo/Fox, Chuck Hodes)
This photo provided by Fox shows, from left, Jussie Smollet as Jamal, Terrence Howard as Lucious, and Bryshere Gray as Hakeem, in a scene from “Sins of the Father” episode of “Empire,” that aired Wednesday, March 11, 2015 on Fox. (AP Photo/Fox, Chuck Hodes)

(Ebony.com) – FOX’s hit show, Empire, is getting bigger by the week. This is evidenced by the millions of viewers that tune in every Wednesday to view the saga of the Lyon family and Empire Records. Though it’s not necessarily my cup of tea artistically, it is a highly entertaining show, especially with the crowd participation that accompanies each episode on Twitter. We crack jokes on Wednesday nights, but there’s something that draws us back every week. I think it’s the fantasy element to it all. Few among the vast sea viewers watching can relate to the lavish lifestyle and high-stakes drama of the Lyons clan.

However, Lee Daniels has made it known that he’s trying to incorporate societal issues pertinent to the Black community into the show: homophobia, interracial relationships, prison and familial bonds have been among the biggest ones so far. The last few episodes have brought up another monster for Black people: mental illness.

As a person diagnosed with manic-depression/bipolar disorder, I perked up when Andre (played by Trai Byers), son of Empire head honcho Lucious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard) started to show signs of the illness and  his diagnosis was revealed. Being familiar with the symptoms, I could tell that Andre was experiencing some type of mental issues when he went and sat in the shower fully clothed after hearing of his father’s ALS.

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