Empire Creator Reveals How Kanye West Inspired the Show

Danny Strong

Empire Creator Reveals How Kanye West Inspired the Show

Danny Strong says he was ready to write the hit show's screenplay after 45 minutes with Yeezus.

Published March 24, 2015

For actor and writer Danny Strong, all the world's a stage.

The Empire co-creator, who has had roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls, and who has written screenplays for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2 and Lee Daniels' The Butler, recently revealed to KCRW's The Business that he doesn't write about what he's lived, and that he found inspiration in Diddy and Kanye West to develop the hit TV show.


"As far as my own experience in the African-American community, the truth is, when it comes to me and writing, I don’t write anything that I have ever had any experience in. For me, it’s about what interests me, what excites me. Nothing is about my own life experience, Strong said, according to Vanity Fair.

"...I was in my car in L.A., and I was driving around, and I heard a news story about Puffy, and I just thought, hip hop is so cool. That’s what I should do next, something in hip hop," he continued. "And I immediately began thinking King Lear and The Lion in Winter, and that’s how I work. I go to classical archetypes."

His go-to personification of hip hop? Mr. West, of course. "To procrastinate and for inspiration, I started watching Kanye West interviews. After 45 minutes ... I said, 'Alright, I’m good. I know how to do this,” he said.

The Fox series, also helmed by Lee Daniels and starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, wrapped up their premiere season with 17.6 million viewers, the most popular TV drama debut finale since ABC's Grey's Anatomy in 2005, reports CBS.

BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

(Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Written by BET-Staff


Latest in news