Unmaking him : Lee Daniels' Empire and the potential black masculine




Griffin, Jeremy O'Brian

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This paper uses Lee Daniels’ hit show Empire to examine the relationship between two fictional television brothers- Jamal and Hakeem Lyon. In examining this relationship, I employ black feminist and black queer theory to interrogate the ways in which Lee Daniels’ particular representation lends to an expansion of current notions of black masculinity within the quotidian. I argue that through re-representing the ways in which black men interact and are intimate, Empire helps to unmake ideals of black masculinity steeped in stabilizing patriarchy and moves to expand what and how black men can be. Through imagining that the promise of black feminist and black queer theory is the ability to remake self outside of the normative, this project moves in the vein of such to imagine what potential alternative black masculinities look like.


LCSH Subject Headings