By Marissa Johnson
Fox’s “Empire” was a hit in America without a doubt. But, since the first season wrapped up in March, the show has been gaining serious momentum internationally. “Empire” has now become the biggest international television hit since the “Cosby Show.”
The show is beloved by audiences in Germany, France, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Most notably, the show is also achieving acclaim in China, Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. This is a surprise, as American television shows have a notoriously difficult time getting audiences in Asian markets.
“Empire” is not the only newer show with a predominantly black cast to gain international attention. “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Power,” and “Black-ish” are also conquering international television viewer ratings.
Why “Empire” is so beloved should come as no surprise. The music is original and good enough on its own to dominate radio airwaves. The writing is crisp and well written. Plus, Cookie Lyon is perfectly played by Taraji Henson.
Cookie is a fan favorite and the subject of countless memes on the Internet. Her outfit and hair is always together. She’s a go-getter who came from the hood. She knows how to woo investors but can hold her own with the most hood of men. She can hold her booze better than a man in fact.
She is loyal and was willing to go to jail for her man instead of informing on him to the police for a reduced jail sentence. Plus, she’s the only one who can keep Lucious in line. Fox calls her fans “Cookie Monsters.”
Though Taraji’s character has a troubled relationship with one of her sons, Hakeem, she makes an effort to overcome this.
Anika’s character is also important to the show. She plays the villain, the one black America loves to hate. She comes from an upper-middle class background as her father is a doctor, but she has a really fair complexion and seems stuck up.
The star-studded first season had guests of various ages, which helps the show to resonate with millennials and older generations alike, and also appeals to black and non-black viewers. Guests included Snoop Dogg, Patti LaBelle, Rita Ora, Mary J. Blige, Raven-Symone, Jennifer Hudson, Tasha Smith, Naomi Campbell, Estelle, and Courtney Love.
The show has been renewed for a second season.