“What Is This Empire?”: Courtney A. Kemp Claims People Were Angry About Dru’s Character Being Gay On Power

You simply can’t please everybody, no matter what you do. That is a lesson that Courtney A. Kemp, creator and executive producer of Power and its spin-off, Power Book II: Ghost, has learned. When some fans of the show were given a taste of some steamy LGBT romance on their television screens, they went in an uproar. Courtney A. Kemp is speaking up on the backlash the show faced and the comparisons it got to Empire.

When Empire first aired, fans of the show were introduced to actor Jussie Smollett’s character “Jamal Lyon,” who was gay. It was one of the few instances where a lead character on a network television show was both a Black man and gay. Years later, the doors would be open for more main characters to fit in the same criteria.

Jamal Lyon’s story was that of a man who came from a prominent family in the entertainment industry. Throughout the series, the singer was indeed accepting of his sexuality. However, Jamal Lyon would encounter many instances of hatred and opposition due to his sexuality, especially from his father’s direction.  

Fans of the Power Universe who had begun to watch its first spin-off, starring Michael Rainey Jr., Mary J. Blige, and Method Man, were also introduced to the Tejada family. One of the family members, Dru Tejada, is played by actor Lovell Adams- Gray. Of course, those who watch Power are aware of the many twists and turns that could occur at any point in time during the show. Such was the case when unsuspecting fans witnessed a fascinating tidbit about Dru Tejada on the fourth episode of its first season.

The Tejada family is, no doubt, hardcore. Violence and drugs are a common mainstay for the household. But nobody would have guessed that Dru Tejada was gay. Viewers witnessed a steamy, convincing romantic scene with Dru and another man in the college dorm. So naturally, they soon took to social media (as usual) to voice their opinions. Some celebrated that Dru was gay, while others piled on the backlash. Even Snoop Dogg couldn’t hold back in his thoughts.

50 Cent, who serves as executive producer alongside Courtney A. Kemp, shared a screenshot that he was sent from Snoop Dogg of their intimate scene. The “Gin N Juice” rapper expressed in 50 Cent’s comment section that he was simply thrown for a loop. In addition, Snoop Dogg declared the first season a “masterpiece as usual.”

Because she doesn’t live under a rock, executive producer Courtney A. Kemp caught wind of the fan backlash. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter recently, Kemp stated that her mission is to “challenge” her viewers.”I love honest, frank talk about race, gender, and sexuality,” Courtney A. Kemp shared in the interview. She then expressed the push back she first encountered while creating the characters for the show. According to the producer, people discouraged her from going forward with Dru Tejada because “the audience won’t like it.” Harping on the importance of these subjects, she added that it would be tone-deaf to create a show that only included heterosexual people. 

Thankfully, she reveals, more viewers were in support of her decision to include the Dru Tejada character as intended. However, she felt negative feedback from detractors who compared Power Book II: Ghost to Fox’s Empire.   But Courtney A. Kemp refuses to bend or break. Instead, to keep her mission alive, she revealed her plans to “keep pushing on every level” to the publication.

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