FOX’s Empire Pays Homage to Hip-Hop Music and Fashion

Fox's Empire TV show
Lee Daniels, Taraji P. Henson, Timbaland and Terrence Howard attend the after party of Fox's 'Empire' held at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on January 6 in Hollywood
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In the tradition of the hit TV series “Dallas” and “Dynasty,” FOX is stepping into the ring tonight with “Empire,” its own family-centric drama. This time around, however, the story unfolds around a hip-hop music mogul and the fight among his family members for control of his empire.

Since hip-hop’s launch in the early ’80s, the movement’s been as much about fashion as music. So look for the show to pay homage to both through its cast of characters, which includes Terence Howard as Lucious Lyon, a music artist and CEO of Empire Entertainment. His sons — Hakeem, played by newcomer Bryshere Gray; Jamal, played by Jussie Smollett; and Andre, played by Trai Byers — are all contenders to assume control of the family business.

But that’s just the beginning. Taraji P. Hensonplays the female lead, Lyon’s ex-wife, Cookie, who also wants a piece of the action. Just released from prison after 17 years, the style-starved matriarch is more than likely to slip out of her jail-issued footwear and into a pair of sexy heels.

Hip-hop has long-devoted lyrics to its footwear. Here, the shoes that made the biggest news in the game:

– Run D.M.C. named a song “My Adidas,” after their beloved Superstars. The New York-based rap trio drew attention for hitting the stage in casual attire, wearing their shoes without laces and with the tongues hanging out.

– Nelly paid tribute to Nike’s Air Force 1 in a song named after the style in 2002. In 2003, the rapper signed a deal with the brand for his own shoe, Air Derrty.

-Notorious B.I.G. name-checked Timberlands in more songs than we can count. From “Hypnotize” to “Friend of Mine,” the late rapper made no secret of his preferred footwear. Nas, 50 Cent and GZA were also fans.

– Kanye West’s shifting loyalties have been well-documented. Kim Kardashian’s better half repped the much-hyped Air Yeezy, first released in 2009, with a follow-up in 2014. The Air Yeezy 2, which originally retailed for $245, was a hot property on eBay, where the shoes were going for $16.3 million at one time, beating the $1,695 price tag on West’s earlier collaboration with Giuseppe Zanotti.

– Nas, whose love of sneakers knows no limits, opened a store devoted to kicks in Las Vegas in 2014. His new venture, 12am Run, caters to shoppers and sneakerheads alike.