If you enjoy a show with powerful men, action, unexpected twist and being left on the edge of your seat with cliffhangers then these shows fit that criteria. Oddly enough, I know most people I hear speak of one, watches both versus one or the other. The craz is on about these two shows. Similar but different and relatable to probably almost anyone. The shows are taking ratings by storm and I would say are probably one another’s largest competition.


Power has a story line of a man that is married to a women that met him while he was young and working on coming up. The main cast consist of Omari Hardwick, the husband; Naturi Naughton, the wife; Joe Sikora, the childhood best friend of Omari; Lela Loren, the childhood love; Curtis “50 cents” Jackson, one of the producers and a partner in crime in the drug game. He was and is a drug dealer and she was by his side every step of the way. As he moved up the chain in the drug game he realized he needed to mask the money he was making through legit means. As he grows as a husband and a man he gets to a point where he wants to get out of the drug game to be able to live a life where he can provide a safe environment for his family and enjoy life without those dangers. He finds himself going in a direction that his wife is not likely to follow. She wanted him to be the largest drug dealer in the game in their area. His best friend happens to be one that also doesn’t welcome the growth of this husband and father and attempts to keep him deeply tied to the street life. Omari and his wife reach a point of disagreement as she doesn’t welcome his change of heart. In the interim he runs into a women he loved dearly when he was younger and ends up cheating on his wife with her. All of these things make some great correlations of him reflecting in the mirror from the man he was and the man he was becoming with the challenges that come along with his lifestyle. The struggle of a man wanting to live a different life and his wife not being so supportive even when she finds out about the mistress.

TV STILL -- DO NOT PURGE -- EMPIRE: (L-R): Trai Byers as Andre Lyon, Taraji Henson as Cookie Lyon, Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon and Trai Byers as Andre Lyon. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Michael Lavine/FOX
TV STILL — DO NOT PURGE — EMPIRE: (L-R): Trai Byers as Andre Lyon, Taraji Henson as Cookie Lyon, Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon and Trai Byers as Andre Lyon. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Michael Lavine/FOX

Empire happens to have a similar background in the way of the building of this families empire starts with drug money. The cast consist of Terrance Howard, the father; Taraji P. Henson, the wife; Trai Byers-the oldest son; Jussie Smollett, the middle son; and Bryshere Y. Gray, the youngest son. A young couple are in the drug game and have 3 boys when the wife is busted and takes a 17 year rap for their dealings. As her husband moves on during those years and building a music icon in a business after the family name and raising their sons; she is left as a memory. Once she gets out, her husband played by Terrance Howard, has moved on to someone else and isn’t so welcoming in her return or placing her in the business. This show reminds most of us of the extension of the movie Hustle and Flow where the two main stars continue in this show. The family is no longer involved in illegal activities as now the concern is taking a business public on the stock market, one son who has a mental illness that is not addressed, one homosexual son which the father does not know how to accept, and the woos that come with running at that top of the game in the music world.

The shows both focus on family men who happen to be black men. They are both very driven and focus on the providing for their families. One man that battles with his reflection in the mirror of who he was and who he is striving to become. Another father who is visited by his past memories of dropping one son in a trash can and the times when he made music on the side of his hustler life. They are both have women by their side that were down for that life and could be said to be ride or die chicks. However, as one starts to grow in a different direction the relationship on Power is challenged. The marriage between the couple on Empire falls apart as his wife is in prison for almost 20 years. I believe both could easily take a toll on a marriage or a long term relationship. I believe we have to stop and evaluate why we are with this person. Are we willing and wanting to make this work or do we run due to being stagnant and resistant to change. When one of us grow, change can be scary for some and others worry about the change in lifestyle. I guess in my mind, to have my man safe and out of harms way with a life that we no longer have to look over our backs or wonder if our kids will be ok would be enough to help me want to make that jump. You see in Power the wife is very resistant to this change. You have wonder if it is all based on the money and the life. Their marriage takes a hit as her husband cheats on her with someone he loved dearly before he met her. It seems to still not fully get her attention straight on the family being priority, but still aiming to get him to be one of the largest dealers in the game on their coast as she references. I think so many of the issues between the husband and wife teams are things we hear of most of the time. Listen to what your other half is sharing, don’t just hear it, but process it.

As the shows continue to dig their hooks into us, we learn of the family troubles on Empire. A husband left to raise his kids while his wife did time. One son with a mental illness, that is never properly dealt with until the son is in college. I do feel that most black families are not quick to jump on the bandwagon of a diagnosis like this without being resistant. However, in the long run this can only hurt the child at hand as they are neglected treatment until much later. The middle son played by Jussie is gay. This father has no clue how to take all this in. He does what he feels is the best he can by raising and providing for them. However, this father thought he was doing the best he could. He attempted to fix his son that would walk in women shoes on occasion by attempting to rid his son of this “condition”. Terrance is not able to rebuild or work on these relationships until his wife gets out of prison and adds some nurturing to the mix.

Although they are both entertaining and some feel it is just a continuation to depict the black community negatively, their ratings are off the charts. I believe as adults that make the choice to have children, planned or unplanned have to think about the environment we bring them into. No parenting method is perfect, but we have to find a balance between raising them and getting them ready for society while being sensitive to what comes with our bundles of joys. The ultimate concern should be welfare of the child and teaching them to be open, loving, understanding, planting values, and morals. I think as parents or parts of the family we get so caught up in what we are not comfortable with or are posed with situations we are not familiar with and therefore we don’t address it. This doesn’t fix the issue or search for an amicable way to handle it!!! It makes it a stupor later versus now.

The shows offer some great strong points to focus on, like family, providing, and how to handle some of the more stressful things in life. Let your partner be just that. They are a spouse and someone to assist, grow, and learn with you. Don’t make it a roommate situation by not being respectful of where they are going in life (of course I am not speaking of things like gender changes, those bring different dynamics to be addressed). As times move forward discuss goals, best way to raise your children, and carry over the open communication with your children. If they are confronted with tough times and what to do next, you would much rather they come to you versus feeling they can only speak with a friend that could happen to be a hormonal teenager who doesn’t think clearly and is more than likely lacking maturity. Don’t try and force your kids in the direction to live a life you chose not to. Let them enjoy their individuality and if that is hard for you as a parent, open that communication door and be open to learn how they feel.

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