The media monster known as Empire continued its unprecedented run at the 2015 BET Awards with a high-energy medley consisting of “No Apologies,” “Drip Drop” and “You’re So Beautiful.”
Cast members Yaz, Jussie Smollett, and Serayah turned fictional characters into a very real affair that garnered the same crowd response as a Chris Brown performance. This is a bit more than art imitating life, but rather art becoming reality. This isn’t wouldn’t be the first time in American culture that a make-believe cast of entertainers have taken the world by the storm. In the late ’60s you had The Monkees — a blatant television rip of The Beatles. While in the early ’70s, David Cassidy reigned supreme thanks to the success of The Partridge Family. These acts and many others have toured the world and released albums simply off of the strength of their television personas.
But the musical successes of those shows were driven primarily by young girls and the business model of the teenage heartthrob. Empire, on the other hand, is mainly driven by grown ass men and women. A majority of the credit can certainly be given to the show’s soundtrack, which boasts contemporary production and writing that closely mirrors music currently in rotation all damn day on your favorite station.
But when you have a production God like Timbaland on deck as your music supervisor, one should expect hit records. Let’s keep it all the way real— Yazz and Jussie are real-life artists now, both with record deals to prove it. Jussie signed with Columbia Records in February, while Yazz recently confirmed his deal but kept mum when it came down to the specifics. Combine this with a full-fledged Empire tour in the works for next year, and things only get realer.
Personally I saw this coming — it happened the first time I heard “Drip Drop” at a party in real life. I imagine Diddy had the same facial reaction as he plunged through that BET stage. Last night’s performance was a final confirmation that we now officially live in an Empire world, — and I’ll still be one of five people on Earth not tuned in each week.