What song did Jussie Smollett sing when auditioning for Empire?
a. “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke
b. “Mirrors,” Justin Timberlake
c. “When I Was Your Man,” Bruno Mars
d. “Diamonds,” Rihanna
A. “Blurred Lines.”
Jussie dished at the season two premiere that it was his rendition of “Blurred Lines” for Lee Daniels that helped him land the part of Jamal. Can we get an Instagram vid of that, Jussie?
Which of these famous one-liners did Taraji P. Henson improvise?
a. “My name’s Cookie. Ask about me.”
b. “Boo Boo Kitty” everything
c. “The streets ain’t made for everybody. That’s why they made sidewalks.”
d. “Oh, and Anika… This is an a–.”
B. Boo Boo Kitty everything.
Yup, believe it or not, one of the most quotable lines was improvised by Taraji herself. “It’s almost like when somebody calls you sweetie all the time,” Henson told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s almost like ‘b—h’ without saying it.”
What actor almost landed the role of Lucious Lyon?
a. Denzel Washington
b. Samuel L. Jackson
c. Wesley Snipes
d. It was Terrence all along!
c. Wesley Snipes.
Believe it or not, the patriarch of the Lyon family was almost Wesley Snipes. Lee Daniels was in the process of tapping Wesley for the project when Taraji landed the role of Cookie—and she said she would only sign on to the show if Terrence was cast as Lucious.
What career did Trai Byers consider besides acting?
The actor told ESSENCE that there was a time in his acting career when he stopped landing jobs, and during that period, he became very religious. He opted to wait before joining the ministry, and it wasn’t long before he landed the Empire role as well as a part in Selma.
Why was Bryshere Gray fired from his job at a local Pizza Hut?
a. He was recording songs during his shifts.
b. He was eating too many free pizzas.
c. He became angry at an irate customer.
d. He wasn’t fired; he quit.
A. He was recording songs during his shift.
He told ESSENCE that his manager caught him recording songs on his phone while he was supposed to be making chicken and threatened to fire him if it happened again (spoiler alert: It did). But it all worked out! Yazz used his final paycheck to finance his very first music video.
Which co-star is Grace Gealey boo’d up with?
a. Bryshere Gray
b. Trai Byers
c. Derek Luke
d. Eka Darville
B. Trai Byers.
It’s a Lyon love affair! Grace Gealey and Trai Byers have kept their relationship hush-hush, but Trai reportedly popped the question to Grace at her birthday party. Neither lovebird has confirmed the engagement yet (though Grace has been photographed sporting a larger-than-life ring!).
Who does Gabourey Sidibe credit for her success?
a. Taraji P. Henson
b. Terrence Howard
c. Danny Strong
d. Lee Daniels
D. Lee Daniels.
Gabourey Sidibe made a name for herself in Lee Daniel’s Precious, and she has Lee to thank for her Empire character of Becky, who was originally supposed to be a “boyish, petite White woman. “Lee is the first person in the entire world that has looked at me, looked at my skin color, looked at my body, looked at my talent and said, ‘Perfect,'” Sidibe said at an NYC screening of season two.
What was Ta’Rhonda Jones doing before landing the role of Porscha?
a. Working as a personal assistant
b. Waiting tables
c. Working at a nursing home
d. Going to college
C. Working at a nursing home.
Ta’Rhonda, who is also a talented rapper, told ESSENCE that immediately before she landed the role of Porscha, she was working in a nursing home.
Who was Lee Daniel’s inspiration when creating the Lyon family?
a. The Clintons
b. The Roosevelts
c. The Kennedys
d. The Obamas
C. The Kennedys.
Many believe that P. Diddy or Jay Z was behind the fictional family, but Empire creator Lee Daniels shut down those rumors, claiming that the Kennedys—specifically Joe Kennedy, who groomed his politico sons—heavily influenced the fam.
How many times have Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard starred alongside one another on-screen?
The Empire actors have a long history together, starring together in Hustle & Flow, Four Brothers, Animal and the upcoming Term Life (and, of course, Empire!).
Whoops! Looks like you need to brush up on your Empire knowledge, stat!
Almost, Boo Boo Kitty. Almost.
You are an Empire expert! Are you sure you’re not Cookie in disguise?