Tiana Is Dating India & Hakeem On 'Empire,' & Cookie Obviously Finds A Way To Boost All Of Their Careers
Well. If I thought I liked Tiana on Fox's new hit series Empire before, now I like her so much more. In the first few minutes of Empire 's fifth episode "Dangerous Bonds," Tiana blew off Hakeem after a red carpet event to go home to her girlfriend, India. And what's better, when the news came out that she was seeing a woman behind Hakeem's back — thanks to horrible Andre's horrible wife Rhonda — Tiana didn't apologize. In fact, she defended her girlfriend and her actions by calling Hakeem out for having another girlfriend himself. Plus, Cookie took Tiana's side and used the situation to Tiana's professional advantage, proving that the women on Empire are definitely the smartest people in the room, even when they're at their most conniving.
Rhonda revealed the information about Tiana to Andre and the two terrible humans leak pictures of the couple to gossip sites in the hopes of ruining Hakeem's big music video debut. Unfortunately for Hakeem, he was the only person in the Empire family to actually care about the news enough to halt production and throw a tantrum.
Tiana calls Cookie to figure out how to spin the controversy and press she received from the pictures with India, to which Cookie replied in the best possible way: "Alright look girl, I don't judge, but you a freak. We can sell that." While the wording and implication are certainly problematic, Cookie is essentially saying something often applied to the entertainment industry: sex sells. Unfortunately when it comes to women, sex often only sells if you're willing to put your most personal moments and intimate details on display.
But Tiana has already proven that her career is the most important thing to her. And if she can get to the top and still be be able to keep her relationships with Hakeem and India, she's going to do whatever that takes. Hakeem, on the other hand, needed a bigger push, and of course the only person who could do that was Lucious, who doesn't have the best track record of understanding same-sex relationships. He tells Hakeem to look at the positive of his girlfriend having a girlfriend, "Now you get two girlfriends." Um... clearly that's not how it works, but the talk works on Hakeem, because he will literally do whatever his dad tells him to do. The trio meets and films the music video together, with tension and harmony... For the time being.
Tiana is very clearly comfortable in her own skin. So here's what I hope to see with her storyline as Empire progresses: Don't ignore the dual relationships, but don't use them as a way to drum up dumb drama. Tiana deserves to be her real self and market her real self to sell albums. If Cookie is going to try and make that work with Jamal, she better try and make it work with Tiana as well. Tiana is shaping up to be one of my favorite characters and I genuinely hope her relationship with India will be more fully explored and taken seriously, so that Empire can continue on its track of becoming one of the best new shows of the year.
Images: Chuck Hodes/FOX (2); gifthetv/Tumblr