‘Empire’ Cast Talks Casting, Their Characters & More During Special Fan Live Stream

“Empire” returns for an epic second season this Wednesday, Sept. 23 on Fox.  Continue reading ‘Empire’ Cast Talks Casting, Their Characters & More During Special Fan Live Stream

‘Empire’ Creator Lee Daniels Developing New Show Titled ‘Star’

Fresh off the success of Fox’s hit show Empire, the show’s co-creator and producer Lee Daniels is developing another show tentatively titled Star. The show will be musically themed and centered around a female girl group, which was brought by Fox with a pilot commitment. Daniels will write and executive produce the show, which is set in Atlanta.

Read more about the show below:

On Thursday, Fox bosses Dana Walden and Gary Newman offered up details on the upcoming show, which explores the cutthroat music scene and asks the question, what do you do to rise to the top? Explaining that Daniels “talks a lot about everything from ‘Dreamgirls’ to modern-day girl groups that are manufactured, they are put together, they don’t have an organic reason to be together,” Walden said. “That setup lends to a great soap operatic storytelling machine.”

As for crossover episodes between “Star” and “Empire,” there is a strong possibility, though no plans are set. “It is modern-day music music in Atlanta and ‘Empire’ is modern-day music business in New York,” Walden said. “It’s not inconceivable that the two shows can cross.” via [variety]

Will you be watching?



Lee Daniels and Taraji P. Henson Premieres Empire At Series Mania in Paris

Lee Daniels and Taraji P. Henson went to Paris to show Empire at Series Mania.

Series Mania is a festival where upcoming and current comedies and dramas from all over the world are screened in Paris. Last night, Lee Daniels showed the French viewers two episodes of the record-breaking smash hit Empire. They were also blessed with a sneak peek of season 2, which will be focused on the story of the beloved Cookie Lyon. Afterwards he surprised the audience and brought out Cookie herself. The crowd gave them a standing ovation.

This was a big move for the show, and proves that the show will continue to be nothing but successful.

Am I the only one missing “Empire Wednesdays”? Share with your thoughts on how you think season 2 is going to unfold.

You can find Ebbony on Twitter, @miss2bees

Taraji P. Henson Hints At What to Expect on Tonight’s Finale of ‘Empire’

Fans are anxious, nervous, but excited for the bitter sweet finale of the hit series Empire, which kicks off in less than 45 minutes.

The cast Terrance Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollet, Trai Byers, and Bryshere “Yazz” Gray have already delivered an incredible season and the ratings are through the roof. The anticipation for the 2-hour long finale tonight is building after Taraji, known to Empire fans as “Cookie Lyon,” appeared on the Steve Harvey Show this morning.

“I’m just so sorry for what we are going to do to you guys, it’s bad!” Henson mentioned about the episode. Watch a clip of her interview above and be sure to catch the season finale of Empire on FOX at 8pm EST tonight!

-Tia Long (@ByTiaLong)

Eddie Murphy Cast As Richard Pryor’s Father in Biopic

It was recently announced that Eddie Murphy will be portraying his comedic idol’s boxing father in Lee Daniels’ upcoming biopic.

Continue reading Eddie Murphy Cast As Richard Pryor’s Father in Biopic

The 20 Best Timbaland Beats of the Last Decade

Timothy Z. Mosley, better known as Timbaland, began his rise to fame in the mid-90s and had a steady progression of top Billboard chart hits annually from 1996 to 2001.   In August 2001 his collaborative partner, R&B singer, Aaliyah met a tragic end which seemed to send the producer into anonymity.

On February 1, 2015, another of Timbaland‘s early career partners, Missy Elliott performed “Get Ur Freak On” during the Super Bowl Halftime Show.  The singular performance introduced the producer’s sound to a generation of Hip Hop lovers who were previously unfamiliar with the artist and the producer.  By February 21, 2015, “Get Ur Freak On”, produced by Timbaland in 2001, made it back onto the Billboard Singles Chart.  Inevitably, the 14-year old track thrust the artist and the producer to the forefront of the minds of fans and critics alike.

Many are questioning what happened to Timbaland?

Contrary to popular belief, he neither left the studio altogether nor did he fall off.  Timbaland is well known for working outside the realm of Hip Hop as his music has a penchant for abandoning samples for refracting vocals and layering sounds.  Timbaland‘s 20 best productions over the last 10 years have made it to the Billboard charts in pop, R&B, electronic dance music and overall hotness.

20-19.  Produced in 2006, Nelly Furtado‘s “Promiscuous” won Billboard Music Awards’ Best Pop Single of the Year.  Her second single that year, “Say It Right” was also a Timbaland production and reached number one status on the Billboard Hot 100 only 14 weeks after release.

18-17.  Timbaland also made 2006 a strong year for his partner in chemistry, Justin Timberlake.  The two seemed to effortlessly create one enormous hit after the next.   Justin Timberlake‘s “Sexy Back” and “My Love” both made the Billboard Hot 100 with Timbaland‘s use of electronic chords, beat-boxing and even his own falsetto.

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16.    It would be remiss to fail to mention Timberlake‘s “What Goes Around…Comes Around”.  The song seems unusual in that it follows a very slow tempo uncharacteristic of Timbaland‘s more uptempo club music sound.  Many actually considered it a sequel to the duo’s 2002, “Cry Me A River”.  “What Goes Around…Comes Around” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

15.  2007 opened with the release of Timbaland‘s second studio album, “Shock Value”.   “Shock Value’s” single, “Give It To Me” was downloaded 248,000 times the first week it was released, affording it number one status on the Billboard Hot 100.

14.  In addition to creating his second album “Shock Value”, Timbaland seemed to have consulted with some outer space aliens in 2007, especially before producing “The Way I Are”.  The sound is totally futuristic and U.S. audiences fell in love with sales tipping 3 million.

13.  Continuing the ’07 futuristic vibe with keyboard samples, parts of Justin Timberlake‘s Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Summer Love” sounds like a landing UFO.

12.  Despite his pop collaborations, Timbaland did not abandon Hip Hop altogether.  His undeniable ability to take a song to the top of Billboard charts was not lost on Fabolous.  In 2007, Timbaland did not let Fab down and did something audiences hadn’t heard from him since the 90s.  He sampled the melodious middle eastern/belly dancing sound of Sherine’s “Al Sa’ban Aleh” on “Make Me Better”.

11.  Produced in 2008, Timbaland remixed Nelly Furtado‘s electronic rock song, “Maneater” featuring ‘Lil Wayne, introducing the U.K. hit to American audiences.


10.  Although originally produced in 2004, Jay Z‘s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” made a come back of sorts when President Barack Obama mentioned the song title during his 2008 campaign.  “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

9.  While we’re mentioning come backs, Timbaland‘s production of “4 Minutes” in 2008 put the iconic Madonna back on the Billboard Hot 100 after selling 217,000 digital copies in its first week of release.

8-7.  In December 2009, Timbaland released his studio album, “Shock Value II”.  The single, “Morning After Dark” made it to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and can be heard on the video game, Def Jam:  Underground.  It is the hypnotic synthesizer on the album’s second most successful single, “Say Something”, that made it so noteworthy.  The instrumentation almost coincided with the tone of featured artist, Drake.

6.  In 2010, Timbaland produced Chris Brown‘s “Paper, Scissors, Rock” featuring Big Sean.

5.  By 2011, Timbaland dropped “Shock Value III”.  The single, “Pass At Me” featuring Latin rapper, Pitbull was so successful it made it to the Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs, Latin Pop Songs, Mainstream Top 40 and Rhythmic charts.

4-3.  January 2013 Timbaland signed to Roc Nation where he had another phenomenal collaboration with Justin Timberlake producing his entire album, “The 20/20 Experience”.   Both the mid-tempo “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors” made it within Billboard’s Hot 100 top three!

2.  Roc Nation also offered Timbaland the opportunity to produce Beyonce‘s popular song, “Grown Woman”, which featured in the Queen’s Pepsi commercial.  It was also included in “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour” repertoire.

1.  By the end of 2013, Timbaland returned to his Hip Hop roots and produced “Know Bout Me” featuring Drake, Jay Z and James Fauntleroy.

As of January 2015, Timbaland is still very current as his music can be heard on Lee Daniels and Danny Strong‘s television show, Empire.

Like Timbaland, Doprah No Filtah is a native of the DMV and a lifelong lover of the genre.  Follow her on Twitter @SNSNightlifeMag.


‘Empire’ Wins Wednesday Night’s Highest Rating Yet Again!

When does Empire hit its peak? One would imagine that point would have come weeks ago, but the Fox drama has grown yet again. It hit a 5.7 rating among adults 18-49 during its ninth episode last night. But understand, that’s just the preliminary score.

Empire gained another three-tenths of a point in the key demo to hit its latest series high. American Idol (2.1 adults) were bleeding into the 9 p.m. hour which means it’s a guaranteed to grow again in the final score. Empire also hit a new viewership score of 14.2 million viewers.

If Empire continues to hit such high marks, it will be in a great position to end its season as broadcast’s top scripted show. New viewers are coming every week, even as the season finale approaches. Fox cites 100,000 new views of Empire‘s premiere episode per day on VOD, Hulu and the FoxNow app.

Steadily behind is ABC, which saw Modern Family (3.4 adults) and Black-ish (2.3 adults) do well last week. In the 8 p.m. hour, The Middle (2.2 adults) grew two-tenths of a point from last week before The Goldbergs (2.5 adults). Nashville (1.4 adults) ended the night steady.

-Bri Christian (@brirezy)

‘Empire’ Creator Says Luscious Lyon Character Is Partially Based On Jay Z

Danny Strong says the ALS-stricken mogul is loosely based on a real life iconic superstar

Empire has taken your television set, and subsequently the nation, by storm. It’s volatile and beloved characters, which include heartthrobs Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, all have individual fan bases of their own, and between Cookie‘s antics and Empire Records CEO Lucious Lyon‘s affinity for letting his former lover have her way, there are enough storylines on the Wednesday night show to keep even people with no interest in Hip-Hop and its business fixated.

In an interview with Sway–who, ironically, appeared in last week’s episode–the show’s creator, Danny Strong, admitted that Lucious Lyon’s character is loosely based on Jay Z.

The Jay-Z story, which very much inspired Lucious Lyon, certain elements of Lucious Lyon, was that story. For me the story of people who have some sort of criminal past, or gangster past are not limited to black culture. Our goal is to tell a great story, and to do the best show we can. You can cross the line and just be totally inappropriate, but we’re not doing that.

If Lucious is loosely based on Hov, let’s have a little fun guessing who in Jay Z’s life Cookie could possibly be. Oh, the possibilities.


Richard Pryor’s Widow Talks Upcoming Biopic, Casting & More

Jennifer Lee Pryor, widow of the late comedic legend Richard Pryor, stopped by the Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend podcast and touched on a variety of subjects namely the upcoming biopic about her deceased husband. The yet-to-be-named film is set to begin shooting in July, and will star Mike Epps as Richard Pryor, Kate Hudson as Jennifer Pryor and Oprah as his grandmother with Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) directing.

In the interview Jennifer discusses push back from Richard’s children about the biopic:

“Their qualms are they want to be part of it. And the problem is, they have to talk to me, and they don’t want anything to do with me.”

“Richard Junior surprised me. I thought I had a good relationship with him, and all of a sudden he’s talking smack about me in the press. And I wish him well, I don’t know where it came from. He and Nick Cannon all of a sudden got tight, because Nick Cannon didn’t get the part and Nick’s really pissed off about it. But listen, I have learned to take the high road because there’s less traffic up there. I really don’t hold any animosity towards these kids. I sort of get it. All those mamas, you know, and they’re going to imbue their kids with that same kind of anger… but the truth is, I didn’t have kids with Richard. It’s probably the one smart thing I did with Richard. But I chose not to, because number one, I knew I wasn’t going to be a good mother, and number two, I knew he wasn’t a good father. “

She went on to discuss the decision to give Epps the lead role:

“I approached him a few years back, and then we had a falling out. And it had to do with him kind of getting involved too much with the kids, and… so when Lee told me he was considering Mike, I said “Oh… you know, I will defer to you.” There were three people in the running, really: Marlon Wayans, and Nick, and Mike. And Lee said Jen, you know, Mike’s the real deal. I said I know, I agree. I said I can’t give my blessing, but I’m not going to stand in your way. I have approvals, but I said I’m not going to f*ck with you, I’m not going to cockblock you. He said no, I need your blessing. I said well I can’t give you my blessing, because he hasn’t been cool with me and he’s gotta come clean with me. He said but he says he didn’t do anything. And I said well he’s lying. I said I need him to come clean.”

What had he done?

“He was in bed with Rain [Pryor’s third child], and Elizabeth [Pryor’s second], and there was… just some sh*t. He’d given some money to Rain, and… he thought he was gonna make a project with Rain based on her book, which was crazy anyway because you can’t make a movie about Richard Pryor without [me?]. It was just an absurd thing. But I asked him to speak at Richard’s funeral, and he got up there, and I could tell he was kind of disconnected from me, and he was… the kids were already compiling a case against me, and had a lot of animosity, and I could tell he was sort of playing to them. Anyway, I spotted it. And, again, I said Lee, just do your thing. But Mike called me one day and said Jen, I wanna come clean. I gotta tell you the truth, you’re right. And I said I knew it. And he said that’s all you wanted was the truth? I said that’s all. And so now we’re gonna move forward in a really productive way.”

So the road to getting this biopic underway has been a bit bumpy, but would you expect much else from the family of a comedian who was married seven times and has six children? Us either.

Check back with The Source as more information on the Richard Pryor biopic become available and check out Alison Rosen’s full interview with Jennifer Lee Pryor here.


You can find Khari Clarke at your pizza shop and on Twitter (@KINGCLARKEIII).