Kelly Rowland Joins Season 2 of ‘Empire’

The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards - ArrivalsThe break-out show, Empire, has expanded its roster to include former Destiny’s Child star, Kelly Rowland. The singer will appear in the forthcoming season of the Fox show, Entertainment Weekly has confirmed.

In the series, Rowland will be Lucious Lyons’s mother, a role which will be played in a flashback.

Rowland, however, won’t be the only big name gracing the series’ highly-anticipated return. According to E!Online, Rowland will be joining Marisa Tomei, Alicia Keys, and Chris Rock for the second season, which is set to premiere September 23.

Lee Daniels and Jussie Smollett Got Death Threats Over ‘Empire’s’ Gay Storyline

lee-daniels-taraji-henson-jussie-smollettEmpire co-creator and executive producer Lee Daniels revealed Sunday at the 2015 Produced By Conference in Los Angeles that he and Jussie Smollett, who plays the gay character Jamal, have received violent threats from some of the show’s audience.

“I have to relate to these people honestly,” Daniels said of the show’s diverse audience, “that trash can scene? It happened.”

He’s referring to a flashback scene in which a young Jamal is put into a trash can by his father, a furious Lucious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard), after Lucious discovers Jamal dressing up in his mother’s clothing and strutting around the house.

“Homophobia is real. It exists… Jussie and I both get death threats. But we will continue to do our thing,” Daniels told attendees on the Paramount Pictures lot.

Empire returns to Fox for a second, 18-episode season on Sept. 23.

Empire’s Jussie Smollett Comes Out, Says ‘There Is No Closet.’

rs_560x415-150309083750-634-ellen-Jussie-Smollett-.ls.3915_copyThere’s been a lot of speculation about Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s sexuality since the show has risen in popularity, fueled in part by his reluctance to talk about his personal life in the media. Now he’s made a special appearance with Ellen to sort-of-kinda-come out.

Jussie plays a gay role on the show, and last week, in a recent Q&A, his costar Malik Yoba was asked about the success of the series and its impact, and specifically brought up the gay representation on the show. He said:

“I think that our show represents a huge opportunity to stay in the culture beyond entertainment value and there’s an intrinsic nature of you have the gay factor, right? So, obviously, Lee (Daniels, co-creator) is gay. That was an important storyline for him. I think it’s important for people to see themselves. Even within the Black community. But if you aren’t really, really taking it off of screen and making it live in the community in a significant way … like I know Jussie, he is gay, and he’s very committed to issues around the LGBT community. He and I have a very close relationship.”

Many on social media were upset that Yoba apparently outed his costar. Continue reading