It was a night of cameos, beefs and social messages on the season-two opener of Empire Wednesday and boy was it fun to watch.
Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei guest starred as a rich and powerful investor and Chris Rock did a quick stint as a drug lord. Meanwhile, CNN’s Don Lemon, the Rev. Al Sharpton of MSNBC, Vogue's Andre Leon Talley, and Miss Lawrence from The Real Housewives of Atlanta played themselves. Lastly, we’re not sure what was going on with rapper Petey Pablo. He was in prison with Lucious so it’s safe to say he was portraying a fellow inmate.
While less is more when it comes to cameos, it was fun hearing Cookie take swipes at Lemon and Sharpton. Tomei was quite convincing as a duplicitous lesbian with a crush on Anika – and apparently Boo Boo Kitty gave her the goodies to no avail – and Rock was more comedic than frightening but it’s Chris Rock. We weren’t expecting him to go all DeNiro but you have to appreciate the dramatic effort, despite it being a short-lived one.
That moment Frank Gathers turns into Pookie. #Empire
Other highlights included Cookie telling Anika she couldn’t “dyke right,” Cookie’s little nieces combing her wigs while she wasn’t home, Lucious calling the prosecutor a “Black b***h in cheap shoes” (ouch!), the prosecutor threatening to put her cheap shoes up Lucious’ “yellow ass,” and Hakeem on a hover board. The opening song, “Born to Lose” featuring Sean Cross, Swizz Beatz, Jamal and Hakeem was pretty dope, too, especially the pro #BlackLivesMatter lyrics.
Low points were Cousin Jermel’s head in a box, a pouty Andre and the new and overly aggressive Jamal being mean to Michael, his assistant, Cookie and pretty much everybody. We want our sweet Jamal back. Learning that Ryan was a man whore was kind of disappointing too but Michael is better for Jamal. Hopefully Jamal won’t mess it up this time. Overall, the second-season premiere was packed with twists, guest stars and great lines.
Oh Empire, how we missed you.
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