Tonight, Empire returns for a second season and the show is about to get even gayer than before. Showrunner Ilene Chaiken is making sure that queer women get their due, with Marisa Tomei coming in to help save Empire now that Lucious Lyon is behind bars.
The Season 2 premiere, “The Devils Are Here,” introduces us to Mimi Whiteman (Marisa) who meets Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) at a concert Cookie and her sons are throwing to get the word out about Lucious’s “unfair” imprisonment. Of course everyone knows he deserves to be there for the murder of his friend and Cookie’s cousin, but Cookie is most concerned with keeping the label afloat, which is why she needs to woo Marisa.
But tonight, it looks like Marisa appreciates Cookie, but has her eye on Boo Boo Kitty, Anika (Grace Gealey). In one of my favorite scenes from the episode, Cookie throws Mimi a party, and Anika proves she can be a team player.
A little different from your regular potluck, eh?
Besides Marisa, we’ll meet Freda (played by newcomer Bre-Z ), a young lesbian rapper who intrigues Luscious. Bre-Z recently told Okayplayer about her role:
“Between (Jamal Lyon & Freda Gatz’s character), their sexuality is not who they are. And I feel like that goes for anybody. None of your sexual likenesses are displayed in public view whether you’re with a man or a woman or the same sex. What you do in your bedroom is your business. There’s no need to make a spectacle of it, but you do have to acknowledge that it exists and treat people accordingly, and not be hateful and not a bully or taunt people because they may not walk in the same shoes as you do.”
Bre-Z’s first track for Empire is out now, called “Same Song,” which she describes as “a song about that struggle of being a young black girl… trying to pursue our dreams. All of us tend to sing the same old song. Some people don’t see no way out of that, but you got to make a way. It’s a little piece of me. I love it!”
Bisexual pop star Tiana (Serayah McNeill) and queer DJ Chicken (AzMarie Livingston, who you can see in the clip above getting lucky with a lady) are also back this season, and Serayah teased that her character, who is now a series regular, will show more of herself, although no word on if her GF will make a reappearance.
“We’ve seen Tiana for the crazy things she’s done,” Seryah told CY Interview. “But this season I think there’s gonna be a lot more in-depth with Tiana and her feelings and maybe some more of where she comes from and just seeing her more I think will give people more of an insight on my character.”
Empire returns tonight at 10/9c on Fox.