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Why Using the N-Word Will Bring Fox’s Empire to Ruin

Yasmeen Muqtasid

Yasmeen Muqtasid

By Yasmeen Muqtasid

Fox’s new hit series, Empire, broke records and rules during its 10-week introduction to the new world.  Empire revealed a new viewership that shatters all myths that people won’t tune in to see a majority Black cast with its winning ratings and non-stop social media chatter. The Empire has already conquered a viewership of more than 14 million weekly.  However, if Empire producers follow the suggestion of its leading male star—Terrence Howard—a powerful empire of the show’s fans and non-fans alike might strike back and quickly kick-drop what has become a weekly ritual for many African Americans and viewers of all backgrounds.

Recently in March, Terrence Howard in an Access Hollywood interview said that using the N-word in Empire would be more authentic and be in step with keeping true to everyday black life.  In a bizarre series of rationalizations, Howard says “that as long as you remember to take out the “er” then anyone can say it,”—he also said that his white friends use it with him.  This suggestion comes on the heels of Howard’s  nasty divorce in 2011, which he reported in court documents that his estranged ex-wife allegedly “hated black people” and would often call him names such as “monkey” and “n**ger.”  Lucious Lyon—we are thoroughly confused.  Which one is it?  Is it ok or is it not ok?  Obviously, Howard understands the sting of the word from his marital woes, but does he really understand the historical stench that permeates from a word birthed from such a hateful place.

To introduce the N-word to Empire would be to devalue the very power that the cast has established both onscreen and off-screen.  Using the word on Empire would be akin to African slaves tasting their freedom having established new free settlements in the North, only to decide that they miss their Masters and are willing to give up their freedom and to be enslaved again.  And that’s what the N-word does every time we allow others to say it—unchecked, whether one is black or white—it’s a step backward not forward for black people.  Using the N-word is an indication that one is still not free—mentally.  If you were free, you would not desire to use the word, because you would understand that the word takes us as a people back.  The word weakens the empire our ancestors built so that we might exist today.  I wonder if the same people who advocate for using the N-word would dare to say it in the presence of a Dr. King, Malcom X, Rosa Parks, Emmet Till.

Let’s give Howard the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he has not thought about the lasting consequences that such a change in the tone would have if Taraji Henson a.k.a. “Cookie” called him out of his name on the regular with an N-word here and there.  We must ask ourselves what would be the worldwide ramifications of having the N-word on such a popular show that touches the minds of millions of people.  This is a question for all artists on television, film and music—what’s the impact of this word when it’s memorialized in such powerful mediums.  Is that what we want our Black empire to be remembered for—the N-word—and a continual resurrection of the word in pop culture?  We must let this word die.

It’s ludicrous that Howard would even suggest in conversation to Lee Daniels, creator of Empire, that the N-word be incorporated.  I wonder if Jewish actors have ever insisted that Steven Spielberg use the  K-word in his latest production.  Yes, there is a derogatory word for Jews, but guess what–they don’t use it amongst one another, and their community will ensure your demise (as it should) if you try to drop it casually and say, “it’s a term of endearment.”

In the midst of such supreme success with Empire, one has to question Terrence Howard’s mindset to have even thought to share the suggestion that the N-word be used.   What should anger Howard and all of us, is the fact that so many black people past and present were killed and still are being killed by someone (white, black, etc.) who dares to think that we are “N**gers” and feels justified in treating us as sub-human.

The progress of our first black president, our first black attorney general, and our first black female attorney general in waiting way, are all contrasted against the real drama of the daily murdering and terrorizing of unarmed black men and women by police and vigilante American citizens.  Considering all of the recent killings and beatings of unarmed black men and boys from the University of Virginia—where honor student Martese Johnson was brutally beaten to the murder of Anthony Hill, an unarmed, naked U.S. Air Force veteran to 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s execution, why on earth would Terrence Howard think it a good idea to incorporate the most vile word known to black humanity into the Empire storyline.  The N-word is the last word that far too many black souls audibly or symbolically heard on this side of heaven.   Whether they heard it while being sold from their parents, while being lynched, while being beaten, or while being raped—one thing is clear, that the aggressors in each of these very real life horrors thought of black people as sub-human N**gers.

Words have power—and if we think there’s no power in what we call ourselves and allow others to call us—well—therein lies the reason why the only formidable “Black Empire” that will ever be realized is in the fictional world of Lucious and Cookie.


Yasmeen Muqtasid is the founder of Black Women Matter, Inc.  Black Women Matter was founded in 2010 to address matters that are important to Black women.  BWM uplifts, encourages and empowers black women–because WE matter. Yasmeen is a California native and UCLA graduate who loves good conversation, good people and good food.  Find her on Twitter @bwmatter or email her at info@blackwomenmatter.com

Health Advocate, Maria Gordon, Reverses Diabetes, Loses over 100 lbs, leads others to doing the same

Maria Gordon, before and after

Maria Gordon, before and after

In the United States, alone, 37.9 % of non-Hispanic black and African American men over the age of 20 are obese, and 57.6 % of women who are non-Hispanic black and African American over the age of 20 years are obese (CDC, 2009-2012). However, with the rise in more health awareness campaigns and advocates, more people are seeking the desire to live healthier and longer lives.

Out of those health advocates is Maria Gordon. Gordon struggled with obesity and was later diagnosed with Diabetes in 2010 as a result of her weight battles.

“I know personally the struggles that are faced every day,” Gordon states. “From the challenges of eating properly, the motivation needed to continue and the thoughts that are often not expressed for fear of ridicule”.

In September of 2013 something amazing happened, Gordon decided to get serious with getting her health back on track which included eating clean, increasing her water intake and transitioning into a vegetarian.  As a result she has lost over 100 lbs and has successfully reversed Type 2 Diabetes. Now she is on the quest of assisting others to do the same by providing encouragement and being that positive force of reinforcement to ensure that they succeed in their weight loss journey.

“I’m not a fitness person who doesn’t really understand the challenges. I’m a real person with real results and striving for more results in others as well as myself. This is about being able to connect with people on a personal level, building trust and actually living by example,” Gordon said.

Upon changing her own life, Gordon felt inspired to help others by also teaching them that they do not have to give up and accept the diagnosis, we can FIGHT BACK! She is currently a health and wellness coach working towards certification.

Gordon’s overall goal is not only to raise awareness for Type 2 Diabetes, but to also inspire others to make a lifestyle change and commitment. Success is not only on T.V, its real life…. it’s her life and it can be yours as well. If you would love to speak to Maria Gordon in a more in depth conversation, you may reach out to her at MsMariaG1@gmail.com or visit her website www.ProsperouslyYours.com.

“HELP SUPPORT – Brother’s Keeper Mission Project!”


By Lou Coleman

As much as we may resist the idea that we are our brother’s keeper, in God’s eyes we are more than we aren’t. Am I my brother’s keeper questions our degree of responsibility for anyone other than ourselves.  As we read through the pages of Scripture we begin to discover that there is a responsibility that we are entrusted with. Jesus used examples that said if we clothed anyone who was naked, visited anyone in prison, even just give a cup of cool water in His name then it would be as if we had done it directly to Him. When it comes to God’s perspective on your life, you are your brother’s keeper. Acts 11: 12-30.


However, many of us Christians believe that as one person we can’t make a difference. I want you to know that that’s not true! Let me ask you, did Christ? Yes! One person can make a difference. We are told to “bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” In Galatians 6:2, we are commanded to bear the burdens of our brother. The whole idea here is one of self-denial and self-sacrifice. When Jesus went to the cross, He laid aside His rights for us. He denied Himself, suffered in our place and bore our infirmities on the cross. He set the standard that we are all called upon to follow. This verse is a call for us to get our eyes off ourselves and to get them onto those around us so that we can reach out to them in the love of God and make a difference in their lives!


After seeing firsthand what poverty looks like, I am now more dedicated than ever to be a part of their lives. “I have come to the realization that in the grand scheme of things, it’s not about me! How can we complain when others are in much worst conditions than we find ourselves in? We can no longer walk past those in need, because we are called to make a difference. To be effective servants for God, we must put things into perspective and be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of another. We must have a burning desire to help others to the fullest extent of our being. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But what good is salt that no longer seasons, preserves, or purifies? What good is light that no longer emanates, illuminates, and reveals? God does not extend his generosity to us with the intent that we would hoard blessings for our sole benefit. As we are conduits and not repositories for God’s blessings, we must be determined to direct God’s blessings bestowed on us to others. Let us no longer be perceived as Christians by name only. We must not compromise God’s Word. We must strive to be men and women of integrity. And we must allow real, demonstrative truths to emit from our lives, being mindful that God is making His appeal to the world through us.


USA for Africa, “We Are the World,” written by Lionel Richie and the great late Michael Jackson says, “There comes a time when we must heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one, there are people dying, and it’s time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all. We can’t go on pretending day by day, that someone, will soon make a change, we are all a part of God’s great big family, and the truth, you know, love is all we need.”

Perhaps one of the more thought-provoking questions in the Bible is that one asked by Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9) This is a question we would do well to ask ourselves today…. Are we our brother’s keeper? Do we have a responsibility to watch out for and care for one another? {When one turns to the New Testament, it becomes clear that the answer is in the affirmative}. In fact, there are many passages which emphasize…Our responsibilities to one another. We are to “Love One Another” As commanded by Jesus –As taught by Paul – As instructed by Peter – and as stressed by John. But how are we to express such love? We are to “receive one another”; we are to “edify another”; we are to “serve one another”; we are to “bear one another’s burdens”; we are to be “forgiving one another”; we are to be “submitting to one another”; we are to “exhort one another”; we are to “consider one another”; we are to be “hospitable to one another.” {In light of such “one another” passages, is there any doubt that we are to be our brother’s keeper?} But how well are we doing? Do we even consider them? Are we even aware of whom they are? Are we ignorant of their problems? Are we willing to bear their burdens? So as to help them overcome and become stronger; or do we rather not be bothered?

What is involved in being our Brother’s Keeper? Teaching him the gospel (Mark 16:15, 16) Loving him as we love self (Matt 22:39; 1 John 3:17) Restoring him when he falls. (Gal 6:1; James 5:19-20) Sharing his burdens and joys, (Gal. 6:2; Romans 12:15) Doing good to him. (gal. 6:10) Helping him when he is in need (Ephesians 4:28) Treating him the way we want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12). Does one person make a difference? Yes! You can help by donating any amount to the cause. What may seem small to you might just change everything for them.

To donate visit www.gofundme.com/99b30w.