EMPIRE is an American musical drama television series
which debuted on Fox on January 7, 2015. It centers on a
hip hop music and entertainment company, Empire
Entertainment, and the drama among the members of the
founders’ family as they fight for control of the company.
The show was created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong ,
and stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson .
On January 17, 2015, Empire was renewed for an 18-
episode second season,  which premiered on September
23, 2015. 
Lucious Lyon ( Terrence Howard), a former drug dealer now
turned hip hop mogul and CEO of Empire Entertainment,
learns he has ALS . His life begins to cave in around him
after his past sins come back to haunt him following his
diagnosis. Lucious, looking to groom one of his three sons
Andre (Trai Byers ), Jamal (Jussie Smollett), and Hakeem
( Bryshere Y. Gray) to take over the family business, pits
them against each other.  Empire also stars Taraji P.
Henson as Lucious’ ex-wife Cookie Lyon , the mother of his
three sons who is released from prison after serving a 17-
year sentence. 
Cast and characters
Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon , a former drug dealer
turned hip hop mogul and the CEO of Empire Entertainment,
whose life begins to cave in around him after his past sins
come back to haunt him following his being diagnosed with
ALS . 
Taraji P. Henson as Loretha “Cookie” Lyon , Lucious’
outspoken ex-wife and mother of his three sons, who
served a 17-year stretch in prison for drug dealing . She
sees herself as the sacrificial lamb for Empire
Entertainment, which she built with Lucious, but then took
the fall for when she was arrested for running the drugs that
financed Lucious’ early career. Upon her return from prison
she is determined to bring the Lyon family back together
and reclaim her share of Empire Entertainment. 
Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon , the middle son and
” black sheep ” of the Lyon family, a talented, gay singer-
songwriter who despises the corporate aspect of the music
industry and is estranged from his homophobic father.
Jamal is considered Cookie’s favorite and has a strong
relationship with his brother Hakeem. 
Trai Byers as Andre Lyon, the eldest son of the Lyon
family and CFO of Empire Entertainment. He is Wharton
educated, power hungry and suffers from bipolar disorder .
He is also married to his college sweetheart, Rhonda. He
plans to run Empire, but is in a battle for the head chair
with his younger brothers. 
Bryshere Y. Gray as Hakeem Lyon , the fame-obsessed
youngest son and Lucious’ favorite child, who is a hip hop
star on the rise. Hakeem starts to find feelings for his
mother, Cookie, and has a great relationship with Jamal. He
is also Tiana’s ex-boyfriend and Camilla’s ex-lover. 
Grace Gealey as Anika Calhoun, former head of Empire
Entertainment A&R and Lucious’ ex fiancée. Cookie and
Anika share an extreme dislike for one another,  with
Cookie referring to Anika as the derisive nickname ” Boo Boo
Malik Yoba as Vernon Turner, Lucious’s longtime friend
and business partner, and chairman of Empire
Entertainment. (season 1) 
Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon, Andre’s power-hungry
Ta’Rhonda Jones as Porsha Taylor (season 2, recurring:
season 1), Cookie’s assistant
Gabourey Sidibe as Becky Williams (season 2, recurring:
season 1), executive assistant to Lucious at Empire
Serayah McNeill as Tiana Brown (season 2, recurring:
season 1), an artist at Empire Entertainment and Hakeem’s
Shanesia Davis as Mrs. Calhoun, Anika Calhoun’s mother
Naomi Campbell as Camilla Marks, a fashion designer
and Hakeem’s ex-lover. 
Eka Darville as Ryan Morgan, a documentary filmmaker
and former love interest of Jamal. (Season 1)
Rafael de La Fuente as Michael Sanchez, Jamal’s
Nealla Gordon as Agent Harlow Carter, an FBI agent
working with Cookie.
Damon Gupton as Detective Calvin Walker, a police
detective investigating the murder of Lucious’s friend.
Jennifer Hudson as Michelle White, a music therapist and
Courtney Love as Elle Dallas, a multi-platinum rockstar
and drug dealer and Empire Entertainment royal, who
battles with drug addiction. She is in dire need of a
Derek Luke as Malcolm DeVeaux, head of security at
Empire Entertainment. He is also a former love interest of
Antoine McKay as Marcus “Bunkie” Williams, Cookie’s
cousin who was killed by Lucious. (Season 1)
Judd Nelson as Billy Baretti, owner of Creedmoor
Entertainment and Lucious’s rival who oversaw the early
years of Lucious’s music career.
Tasha Smith as Carol Holloway, Cookie’s younger sister
from Philadelphia , Pennsylvania .
Tyra Ferrell as Roxanne Ford, a prosecutor .
Marisa Tomei as Mimi Whiteman, a Forbes billionaire,
venture capitalist , and lesbian who becomes involved in the
Lyon family drama. (Season 2 -)
AzMarie Livingston as Chicken, Hakeem’s friend and
Kelly Rowland (in flashbacks) as Leah Walker, the
deceased mother of Dwight Walker (now known as Lucious
Lyon), and the grandmother of Andre, Jamal, Hakeem and
Lola. She suffered from bipolar disorder, and died when
Lucious was nine years old.
Adam Rodríguez as Laz Delgado, Cookie’s new head of
security and love interest.
Bre-Z as Freda Gatz, a female rapper and Lucious’s new
project, making her a rival of Hakeem.
Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Dwayne “Puma” Robinson, a
songwriter and old associate of Lucious and Cookie.
Raven-Symoné as Olivia Lyon, Jamal’s ex-wife and the
mother of a young girl who was believed to be fathered by
him. (Season 1)
DeRay Davis as Jermel, a cousin of Cookie who is paid to
kill a former associate of the family. (Season 2)
Estelle as Delphine, a musician Empire Entertainment
tries to sign. (Season 1)
Mary J. Blige as Angie, a woman from Lucious’s past.
Petey Pablo as Clyde, prison-mate of Lucious (season 2)
Becky G as Valentina Galindo, a singer, and a former fling
of Hakeem (Season 2)
Alicia Keys as Skye Summers (Season 2)
Vivica A. Fox as Candace, Cookie’s well-behaved but
snobby and judgmental older sister. (Season 2)
Da Brat as Jezzy, one of Cookie’s friends from prison.
Rosie O’Donnell as Pepper O’Leary, Cookie’s former
cellmate for over a decade. (Season 2)
Gladys Knight as herself
Anthony Hamilton as himself
Sway Calloway as himself
Snoop Dogg as himself
Rita Ora as herself
Juicy J as himself
Patti LaBelle as herself
Charles Hamilton as himself
Pitbull as himself
Timbaland as himself
Sharon Carpenter as herself
Ne-Yo as himself
Funkmaster Flex as himself
Nicole Richie as herself
Joel Madden as hiself
Jason Derulo as himself
Lee Daniels as himself.
Watch and see the intrigue, betrayal and lack of trust amongst brothers and couples because of the music company; EMPIRE.