It’s no secret that Empire stars like Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson are currently a part of one of network television’s biggest hits — the show took in a massive 14.7 million viewers on its last episode and is expected to snag even more for its Wednesday season finalé. With an audience that wide, there are bound to be debates behind the scenes about what language is and isn’t appropriate when trying to accurately portray the industry that Empire does — especially when it comes to use of the n-word.
Howard recently spoke out about how he feels Empire should be more daring when it comes to creating an authentic environment on the show. One of the ways that Terrence says that should be achieved is by using the language that characters like Taraji and his own would actually use in real life; and, yes, Howard told Entertainment Weekly, that includes “n***a.”
“I’m mad that we don’t say n**** in the show. Why is TV showing something different from the reality of the world? Why is there a thing called censorship that stops people from hearing everyday talk? We use n**** every day. It’s become part of a conversation — why aren’t we using it in the show?”
Terrence and Henson’s characters are often at odds on the series, and it appears that discord is mirrored in reality on this particular topic. While Howard pushes for characters to speak in a way more faithful to the hip-hop industry, Taraji made a passing comment to TMZ that makes it seem like she’s not on board for the show to enter into that enter that kind of territory.
“You would piss people off.”
Of course, Henson’s off-the-cuff response to a reporter about the issue shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If Terrence continues to push the issue, n***a could even start slowly appearing on the series. If what he’s already said on the subject is any indication, he might even be willing to defend his position to Taraji.
“If we start getting silly, if we start playing to people’s fancies, then we don’t deserve to be where we are. It’s a big pressure because I want to be a truth-sayer. I want to raise the bar. I want to get rid of this f—ed up word called PC. I think it’s a gate for bigotry because as long as you’re politically correct you can say anything you want but feel some way different.”
Do you think Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard should use n***a on Empire?
[Images via Ben Gabbe and Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]