Right after everyone and their grandma watched the season finale of “Empire,” Don Lemon hit the CNN airwaves at 10 p.m. to discuss the show’s depiction of African Americans.
After showing a clip of the epic fight between Cookie and Anika, the conversation turned to whether the Fox hip-hop drama negatively portrays African American culture.
Lemon quoted Dr. Boyce D. Watkins, who was a guest on the show, as having described “Empire” as a “ghettofied hood drama” and “coonery,” before asking him to explain.
“A lot of black actors and actresses are just tired of being put in the ‘entertainment ghetto,’” Watkins told Lemon, adding, “‘The entertainment ghetto’ is basically the place where you have roles that are shows that are specifically designed for black people, where black actors are kind of locked into.”
He then went on to suggest that Fox would never put such a “dysfunctional” white family on television.
Watkins was part of a panel that included CNN contributor and “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Nischelle Turner and The Grio entertainment editor Chris Witherspoon. All three seemed befuddled by Watkins’ comment.
“Did you watch ‘Dallas’? Did you watch ‘Dynasty’? Did you watch ‘Falcon Crest’?” Lemon asked, referring to the ‘80s shows that featured dramatic soap opera brawls.