cookie

Empire’s character Cookie Lyon is a firecracker! Many see her as a stereotype of African American women, and I am the first to admit that she does have some of the classic characteristics of stereotypical black women. While, I rather not see black women portrayed in that manner at what point does it become okay to sit and watch a show with African American characters and enjoy it for what it is, entertainment, beyond critiquing it for the social and political hot buttons it hits.

I am guilty of critiquing everything from the standpoint of the oppressive, patriarchal lenses in which people of color, in particular women of color have experienced in this country since the beginning of time.  Once you’re level of consciousness is raised to a certain level of awareness, it is hard to turn it off. However, despite the fact that my consciousness is on fleek. I know for everyone of me who is well aware and yet can watch Empire and see it as only entertainment. There are billions of others who believe African American people especially African American women are exactly like each person on the show, which in reality means they are ignorant.

Ignorance will never be conquered if it isn’t exposed. As actress Tarjai P. Henson told Uptown Magazine, “Art is supposed to challenge, start a conversation, so let’s lift the carpet up and deal with this dirt.”

As I have read article after article by others who started this conversation and at this time, I will allow others to discuss this show from that perspective, and instead I will turn my attention to the fact that I love me some Cookie! She is sassy, real, and about her business which pretty much sums up my own personality, and I would be remiss if I failed to point out that who I am and the life I live is everything but a stereotype.

With that being said, despite the stereotypical portrayal of Ms. Cookie, there are four traits every woman can embody from Ms. Cookie Lyon to awaken themselves to the confident and empowered woman with:

1. Know Your Worth
Cookie knows her worth and she refuses to let anyone tell her or show her otherwise. If you try to undervalue, undercharge, or undermine what she is trying to accomplish she has no problem stating that to others or making decisions that are in her best interest. Thus, allowing her to always at heart navigate life from the perspective that she is worthy and deserves to “have it all.”

2. Pursue Your Purpose
Despite the fact that Cookie had to serve several years in prison, it is no denying that her purpose, wasn’t still in her and ready to be shared with the purpose. So often we are scared to pursue what we have been called to do, especially after experiencing setbacks or detours. Cookie leaves jail ready to, like she says, “get what’s mine” but more so what she is doing is following her God given gift and talents as she returns to Empire. As a result, she in turns helps artist after artist flourish and shine under her leadership and direction.

3. Serve with Style
Not only does she know her worth and fulfills her true calling, she serves total style wherever she goes. Her outfits and her hair are chic and fab, but mostly importantly they reflect her. It is evident that she takes total care of body and cares enough of herself to walk out of the house dressed how she wants to be addressed and fly at that! She serves confidence with her style.

4. Tell the Truth
Cookie tells it like it is. She makes others think. She has no problem speaking the truth about herself or others. She doesn’t sugar coat and as a result she is able to be more vulnerable, more open, and live her life more authentically. Consequently, despite her assertive nature she is well loved by most because she does what so many of us wish we could but don’t feel confident enough to do: tell the truth.

By looking at Ms. Cookie Lyon through a lens of empowerment one can see that though her character flawed and imperfect just like you and me, there is much to be learned from a woman who can authentically hold her own and own every room she walks into.

 

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Comment Below: I Want to Know:

  • What other positive characteristics could women learn from Cookie?
  • What is your take on the show, Empire: Stereotypical or Sensational?