In honor of “Empire” breaking a 23-year ratings record, I want to share this open letter I wrote to an “Empire” hater. A few weeks ago, my mom messaged the family, informing everyone of why she won’t be watching “Empire:”
Dear Dr. Boyce Watkins,
Let me start off by saying that you make some very valid points in the above video, informing the world of why you won’t be watching “Empire.” Your critiques of the show’s stereotypes and your speculation of a propaganda war are fairly noted and should be closely monitored with a critical eye; however, I had the following qualms with your 13-minute rant.
- Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
Your opinions would be more valid if you had actually watched an episode of “Empire,” but because you are forming your opinion based off of speculation generated from what seems to be a 6-year-old beef you had with Bill O’Reilly, you can have several seats, sir.
Your assumption that Cookie was a whore ’cause you saw a clip of her walking down the street, exchanging money, sort of provides an insight into the patriarchal view of street life that T.V. has mediated and that you have adopted. Because a woman is making money on the street, she is automatically a hooker? Cookie was a drug dealer. Get your facts straight.
- Do you know Lee Daniels personally?
You chastise Daniels (co-created of “Empire”) for displaying his “mental illness” on screen and accuse him of force-feeding us media messages that are a reincarnation of his childhood abuse. I think it is extremely inappropriate for you to psychoanalyze Lee Daniels, especially when psychology is not your field of study. Daniels has positioned himself to be able to provide a view of the world through his own lens. Who are you to say he is abusing this right of self-expression? Artist insert themselves into their work all the time, just like you inserted your personal beefs into this critique, which undoubtedly influenced your opinion about this show.
- Sounds like you have a phobia of homophobia.
Your comments on homophobia in the black community being overdone on “Empire” were…interesting. I listened as you walked on egg shells, conscious of the line you were teetering between sounding homophobic and supporting the gay community. Be careful when preceding your comments with statements similar to those a racist makes before they make a racist comment: “I’m not racist [homophobic], but…”
So I end this letter with one final food for thought: Is “Empire” a modern day minstrel show intended for a white audience, or is it a good story laden with truthful stereotypes? Cause I mean, let’s face it, we can’t expect all shows about black people to take place in the utopian setting of “Black-ish.” That’s just not the reality most black people live in.
– The Media Whistle Blower