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2011 Winter TCA Tour - Day 5

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*The debate over “Empire” continues to be active as folks argue over the show’s best and worst qualities.

Among those weighing in on “Empire” is Tavis Smiley. During an appearance Tuesday (April 7) on “PoliticKING with Larry King,” Smiley voiced concerns about the popular Fox show to host Larry King. The following is a transcript of part of King’s interview with Smiley:

KING: But on the other hand, the hottest show on television is “Empire”.

SMILEY: That is true.

KING: Number one. “Black-ish” is doing very, very well. Although someone in the New York Post called that a racist show.

SMILEY: I don’t think that’s the case, but the “Empire” thing is fascinating, because the show is doing remarkably well and yet there are a lot of African Americans, the show had 21 million viewers I think on it’s final episode, there’s a lot of people who love the show, obviously not just African Americans. But there’s a debate in the black community that hasn’t really surfaced, hasn’t really boiled to the top yet, but I hear it in barber shops and other places, Larry, about whether or not the problem with “Empire” is that it advances the worst of every pathology that black people have. Crime, and drug dealing, and this and that, and the other, so I think a lot of people are looking for some positive characters that may come out in the second season, but the first season is everybody’s, ahh!


Did Tavis Smiley Really Say That About “Empire”  was originally published on