Films have always been known to be a reflection of the society and can be used to pass messages and life lessons. Visual media has more effect because it brings to life literature and the written text and with such an effect the audience can be able to easily relate to the characters (Moore, 2016). In order to capture an audience, books are turned into films which in reality have more influence to the public. The visual media is also more entertaining as it leaves less to the imagination of the audience.
Empire is a fictional musical television series that revolves around an entertainment production company owned by family members and how they fight to ultimately have majority control over it. Based on finding new and raw talent, the series showcases the different talents that are involved in the production and presentation of music as we know it (Boyer, 2016). This includes singing, rapping, studio production, promotion and the choreography involved during performance. Empire has more appeal on its audience because it shows the secret lives of musical celebrities and the struggles that they undergo in order to produce their music and to reach their level of fame.
Thesis: Communication has been made more effective by the use of visual media especially in the entertainment industry.
Visual media is a common means of communication in the modern day, and is especially propagated via the entertainment industry where images and motion pictures are used to spread intricate details and messages that influence everyday activities and even culture, and such a level of detail, intricacy, and quality is only achieved through the adherence to the various approaches governing the treatment of visual media.
A closer analysis of the television series Empire reveals that there are different messages communicated from different perspectives.
Empire is a relatable series because it focuses on the relationship among family members who have differing opinions about life and how it should unfold. At the same time, the series reveals these conflicts in a dramatic and entertaining way that captures the attention of the viewer enough to relate to them and also to love them as characters (Moore, 2016). It appeals to many because it shows that even celebrities have conflicts with their loved ones and their lives are not as perfect as they are made to seem. The personality of the characters is shown to be flawed as opposed to their flawless performances on stage. The struggle that they go through in order to write and produce a song is also revealed and it finally sets the idea that being a celebrity is a product of hard work and excessive endurance.
One of the main characters called Jamal is presented to the public as a talented singer yet he battles acceptance from his father since he is gay. His brother Andre is seen as an effective and professional business man but he battles with a disease that could cripple him at any time. On the other hand Hakim portrays himself as a rap extraordinaire yet he is always insecure about how his parents feel about him and this makes him to always act out.
The entertainment industry has always been viewed to be made up of glam. When a person makes their way to stardom then all their problems are solved instantly. Conversely, from the show it is clear that the entertainment industry is not only the root of riches but also the root of conflict in the Lyon family (Boyer, 2016). Hip-hop and rap music is majorly associated with the African American history and this comes out clear because Hakim vents out using his rap. Luscious Lyon is also seen getting into the booth to record a song once he was angered by his wife and children. Historically rap music was a way to vent out frustration by African Americans during the civil rights music. They would write lyrics and perform them as spoken word meant to explain their anger and frustration at a society that does not seem to accept racial equality. It then became a source of entertainment as the rappers would speak the experiences of nearly an entire race. This history is represented when Luscious and Hakim use rap music to vent out their frustrations and in the process capture the hearts of many.
Jamal sings beautiful soul music after realizing that his father still does not accept his sexuality as a gay man. This is a representation of the history of the music. During the era of slavery, black people would sing soulful songs to give them strength to endure the suffering they were undergoing. It was to give them hope of better days to come and this is what the same soul music does for Jamal as he awaits for the day his father will allow and accept him for who he really was.
There is a lot of technicality that is involved in making the series to represent the life of a family that is in the entertainment industry. The precision in implementing this is perfectly executed. This can be deducted from the presentation the Empire building made to represent the life of people who are successful. The boardroom is made to look elegant and beautiful. The studio where the music is recorded has all the aspects that a real studio is expected to have. The performances have background dancers who are in sync with the beat and the stage management techniques showcase true performers. All these aspects have been made to come together to represent the life of an artist and the work that goes into production.
The characters also present a proper understanding of the process of making music and the nitty-gritties of the entertainment industry. This means that a lot of research went into understanding the industry and the technicalities involved as the script was being written for the casts (Rodriquez, 2017). The incorporation of famous and renown artists also adds an extra aspect into the technicality as it shows that the artists can actually be equated to real life celebrities. Some of these celebrities include the Grammy Award singer Alicia Keys and also singer and song writer Neyo. These two still form part of the technicality aspect of the show in making the viewers to believe in the story presented.
Empire is filled with ethical dilemmas that the characters find themselves and the actions they take in solving the issue. Luscious was faced with the ethical dilemma of associating himself with his wife after she was incarcerated. This disassociation led her to lose the share she held in the company as she participated in the initial amount required to start the Empire. This ends up becoming a legal battle between the two former lovers and their children and shareholders get caught up in the middles of it all. ethically Luscious was not supposed to discriminate against his son because he was gay but he did it anyway because he believed that the industry would have a different perspective about him if his son came out in public.
Ethically the characters are flawed just like any other human being because there are instances they make selfish decisions that end up hurting the people they love the most (Rodriquez, 2017). Conversely, karma has a way of checking them and in the end they all learn their lessons.
Empire focuses mainly on the life of celebrities. The culture of the entertainment industry is that it is filled with promiscuity simply because people want to be associated with the celebrities (Giannino & China, 2017). The celebrities have a promiscuous life where they start sexual relationships not based on love but for the sake of it and in the end just ignore each other. The African American culture is also represented in the music and the lyrics that are used also demonstrate the life of the black community.
Most of the characters speak with a southern accent to their English and this represents people who come from a predominantly black community and mostly from humble beginnings. During the flashback scenes where the Luscious and Cookie are seen to have a dream and talent and try against any means to make it happen. The African American community is associated with drug trafficking and being arrested and this is demonstrated by the arrest of Cookie for selling drugs and follow up incarceration for years. During one scene a lady states that she’s working of CP time which is meant to stand for colored people time that they are typically known to be late for their appointments.
Luscious Lyon is seen to be a critical thinker who would like to have his legacy propelled even after he dies. He appears to have been diagnosed with a chronic disease that gives him a few months to live and in the duration he tries to train one of his sons to take up the business after he is gone (Rodriquez, 2017). Although he comes to realize in the end that he had been misdiagnosed, he had been able to push his three sons to reveal their potentials and true nature. He in the end choses whom he would like to take over his company and Jamal is his choice.
There is a level of critical thinking and acting that is seen from the cast as well. Cookie is very critical in her actions as she seeks to reunite her family once again. On the other hand Luscious’ wife Anika feels betrayed and tries to bring down Empire by colliding with the enemy. All these are critical thinking perspective that every character has and tries to improve their position and at times it works and times it fails miserably (Giannino & China, 2017).
The entertainment industry has been well represented in the television series Empire by having characters with different personalities and undergoing different challenges. The visual effects help to make the characters more relatable and also seem like real celebrities. They are also used to make the setting of the series to be glam and out of reach while still making the characters human and ordinary. The visual effects give life to the characters, to the setting and mostly to the plot making it easy to tell the story and to capture the attention of the audience. Additionally the message that is aimed to be communicated is delivered that celebrities are human beings who can hurt and undergo challenges in their lives as well. The road to stardom is depicted to be full of fun moments, defining moments as well as trying moments which can alter a person’s destiny. The other message is that family always comes together at the end to help each other out no matter the level of conflicts that the members have had amongst themselves.
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