Will Hakeem Win ‘Empire’? Here's How the Boy Wonder's Odds Stack Up Against The Rest Of His Family
Like the Lyon family on Empire, I also grew up in a family with three brothers. We weren't hip hop prodigies like the Lyons, but our parents always told us they loved us equally anyway. Empire's patriarch Lucious Lyon took a slightly different approach to child rearing. As we learned in the show's pilot, Lucius decided to pit his three sons against each other for the right to run their family business, the extremely successful Empire Entertainment. We already know the baby of the family, Hakeem, is his father's favorite, and that makes him the most likely successor. But, it may not be quite so simple. What exactly are Hakeem's chances of getting Empire over his brothers? Don't count anybody out just yet.
Don't get me wrong, Hakeem has a crazy amount of talent, and he's the apple of his father's eye — especially considering how much Lucius hates his second son, Jamal, for being gay, which Lucious insists is a choice. At this point, it's Hakeem's company to lose. But it's still early in the season, and Lucius was given a diagnosis of around three years to live before he succumbs to ALS. So each Lyon still has plenty of time to win his father over — or lose his trust completely. Check out what Jamal and Hakeem both have going for them in this clip of one of the show's original songs:
So what are Hakeem's chances of controlling Empire Entertainment? He'll have to deal with each of these family members first.
Rationally, it's easy to see that Andre is the best choice to take over Empire. He's got the degrees, the experience, and the stability. The only thing he lacks is a hit record — which is, unfortunately for Andre, the only thing Lucious seems to care about. That looks good for Hakeem, who clearly has the musical "beast" inside him that his father so admires. If Lucious had any interest in handing Empire off to Andre, he would have done so already — why wait when his first-born is so obviously qualified? The CEO obviously wants a celebrity leading the company, and that's something Andre will never be — but Hakeem will.
The question isn't so much whether Hakeem could get Empire over Jamal, but rather if Jamal even wants it. Like he told Cookie, Jamal is getting back in the music game for his mother, not himself. And he's still too cowed by Lucious to come out — which is just the publicity bump that could propel his career into the big time, and force his father to take him seriously. Hakeem is hungry for success, and unless Jamal starts making major moves, he's no match for his younger brother. Jamal may be a levelheaded problem solver, but something tells me Lucious actually respects Hakeem's wild irresponsibility more.
Finally, a true adversary. You didn't think I forgot about Queen Lyon, did you? In the end, Lucious' pride won't allow him to give Empire to either Jamal or Andre, but he's also a shrewd businessman, so deep down he's got to know deep down that Hakeem just isn't ready for the responsibility of running a multi-million dollar company. While he's stuck trying to choose between three imperfect heirs, who's gonna swoop in and somehow sweep the whole thing out from under him? Cookie, of course. Remember what she said in the very first episode of Empire: "I'm here to get what's mine." I don't doubt it.