Jay Z An Inspiration For “Empire,” Creator Danny Strong Says

Jay Z An Inspiration For "Empire," Creator Danny Strong Says

“Empire” creator Danny Strong says Jay Z “very much inspired certain elements of Lucious Lyon.”

Fans of Fox’s hit show Empire have speculated on the inspiration behind many of the character’s and storylines for weeks.

Empire‘s creator, Danny Strong, recently stopped by Sway in the Morning to talk about his Hip Hop-oriented series and explain whether or not the script draws from real-life people and events.

Sway – who appeared in a recent episode of the series – asks Strong about the backlash the series has drawn due to people’s perception of the show perpetuating negative stereotypes within the black community, specifically Lucious Lyon’s drug-dealing rags-to-riches narrative.

Strong says that he hasn’t heard too much backlash from the show but admits that Lucious, played by Terrence Howard, is inspired by Jay Z.

“There’s certainly some truth in that, the Jay Z story, which very much inspired certain elements of Lucious Lyon, was that story,” he says. “The entire cast is African-American. We’re going to have all different types of characters and we’re just going to tell good stories. We’re not going to sit here and play defense or think that our show is a representation of black culture in its entirety…It’s just this story.”

After saying that the criminal-gangster-related theme isn’t just specific to black culture and that Italians, Irish, Jews and “so many different cultures” in American society can identify with it, Strong calls the series an “American dream story.”

“This is metaphorical of so many people in America,” he says, “how they rise up to power is through these means.”

Strong also acknowledged that the show draws from the Kennedy family, as well.

Check out the full interview below:

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