Openly gay director Lee Daniels has said he wants to ‘blow the lid off’ homophobia in the African-American community in his new TV series Empire.
The Oscar-winning director of Precious said he was frightened by his own father’s hostility towards homosexuality and the same attitude was depicted in the lead character’s relationship with his gay son.
‘Homophobia is rampant in the African American community, and men are on the DL,’ he said at a press conference on Saturday (17 January).
‘They don’t come out, because your priest says, your pastor says, mama says, your next-door neighbour says, your homie says, your brother says, your boss says [it’s wrong].
‘And they are killing African American women. They are killing our women. So I wanted to blow the lid off more on homophobia in my community.’
The Fox show is the story of a rapper-turned-music-mogul, Lucious Lyon, with a fatal disease who must decide which of his three sons will take over his empire.
In the first episode, Lyon, played by Terrence Howard, stuffs gay son Jamal into a garbage can after he catches the boy trying on his mother’s high heels.
‘I’m glad that I can show the African-American community that this is what you’re doing to your son, this is what you’re doing to your nephew, this is what you’re doing to the kid down the street,’ Howard said.