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Professional Lessons Courtesy of Empire’s Lyon Family

Move aside, Tyler Perry! Lee Daniels and the cast of Fox’s Empire are the hottest things on TV. The acting, the music, and the drama are the black, adult version of Glee. In an age where there are so many negative images of black men, Empire introduces the world to men who epitomize power- the mogul (Lucious), the professional (Andre), the pretty boy (Jamal), and the rebel (Hakeem). Top that off with Mama Cookie, a woman who doesn’t bite her tongue, and you have a spicy recipe for success!

As I watched the first few episodes of Empire, I wondered why higher education isn’t sexy like the music industry or Hollywood. Where’s the behind-the-scenes Timbaland dropping sick beats that make you want to leave your six figure job to intern (for free) at a record label? What would happen if I walked in my engineering classroom wearing a jet black, waist-length wavy weave and a pair of 4 inch animal print stilettos? Could I maintain my credibility as a professor while still displaying fierce personality and style?

lyon family fox

Although higher education isn’t quite ready for the “ratchet” behaviors that are somewhat commonplace in Empire, there are lessons to be learned from the Lyon family. “The Dr. Monica Cox” (as my former assistant’s daughter calls me), the professor who overanalyzes everything related to pop culture and life, is breaking down what to do in higher education or any other profession when you meet people who possess the characteristics of America’s newest sweethearts, the Lyons.

Lucious- The Traditionalist


WHO HE IS Lucious put his hand to the plough to build his musical empire. One who doesn’t believe in handouts, he attended and graduated from the School of Hard Knocks. Since it worked for him, he thinks that it should work for others too.

PROFESSIONAL APPLICATION The Traditionalist wants things done the way that they’ve also been done. If there is a process in place to get a result, he thinks that this process must be followed to guarantee success. He must remain in control at all times. If you have to work with him, it’s best to understand your true identify before your interactions. Be steadfast, and do not let him discourage you, since he has a viewpoint that might not change. Although The Traditionalist may not see your dreams or potential at first, never forget that your dreams are valid.

Andre- The Schemer