Following the season finale of the Fox television show “Empire,” Dr. Boyce Watkins and a handful of other guests appeared on a Don Lemon-led panel on CNN to discuss “Empire” and the impact the show has had on black actors.
During the panel, Dr. Watkins defended comments he made earlier in the week, in which he dubbed the show “coonery” and a “ghettofied hood drama.” He then went on to explain that the show puts black actors “in the entertainment ghetto.”
Dr. Watkins also shot down comparisons to “Dynasty,” a past show with similarities to “Empire,” but with an all-white cast.
“I think that a lot of black actors and actresses are just tired of being put in the entertainment ghetto,” Dr. Boyce Watkins said. “The entertainment ghetto is basically the place where you have roles that are specifically designed for black people. Where black actors are kinda locked into. I can tell you this, if that family were a normal family and didn’t have so many dysfunctions, those characters would have been white…This is ‘I’mma slap yo bitch ass cause I’m from the hood’…If you’re black and you wanna play roles that involve being a thug, a hoodrat, a gangster, a killer, or a criminal, there are plenty or roles for you in Hollywood.”
The “Empire” season finale aired on Wednesday, March 18 and pulled in 16.7 million viewers. The show also garnered a 6.5 rating in the 18-49 age bracket.
Following its premiere in January, “Empire” welcomed guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, and a handful of other artists.
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