Lee Daniels Hub

Lee Daniels Discusses Homophobic Audience Reaction To Gay Kissing On 'Empire': WATCH


Writer, director and producer Lee Daniels recently talked about watching focus groups react to same-sex kissing on his new show, Empire. Daniels referred to the dial technology used by focus groups to give instant feedback as to whether they love or hate something. When viewers love something they turn their dials up to a ten, whereas when they hate it they turn to zero. So how did the majority of those in the focus group first react to a gay kiss on Empire?

They’re at a ten until the two men kiss. So at the end the questioner asks, 'why is it a zero when two men kiss?' And you knew that the hundred people in the room — a hundred people in the room, most of them, 90 percent, 95 percent of them were heterosexual — didn’t want to admit to their homophobia so they just sort of look at the floor—it’s like not admitting to be a racist…'But can you tell me why you’re at a zero? Why do you go from a ten to a zero?' Because it’s unaccepted. I think that it’s slowly becoming a thing because we are making it a thing. It is the civil rights of our time right now and I think we have to not back down.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

And you can watch Empire Wednesdays at 9 PM ET/PT on Fox.

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'Empire' Creator Lee Daniels Wants To 'Blow The Lid Off' of Homophobia In The Black Community: VIDEO


Lee Daniels' new Fox show Empire is already a critical and ratings success. In fact, the series has already been picked up for a second season - this after the airing of just the first two episodes. The show revolves around a music mogul (Terrence Howard) and his family, including a son (Jussie Smollett) whom he does not support because he is gay.

While promoting Empire at the Television Critics Association press tour over the weekend, the openly gay Daniels said that the nightime soap will "blow the lid off more on homophobia" in the African American community.

The Wrap reports on what Daniels had to say and his thoughts about men on the "Down Low":

Daniels“Homophobia is rampant in the African American community, and men are on the DL. They don’t come out, because your priest says, your pastor says, mama says, your next-door neighbor says, your homie says, your brother says, your boss says [that homosexuality is wrong],” Daniels said. “And they are killing African American women. They are killing our women. So I wanted to blow the lid off more on homophobia in my community.”

He continued:

“When I did ‘Precious’ I had to do research on AIDS in the ’80s so I went to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center in New York City, and I expected to see gay men, and there were nothing but African American women and babies with HIV. And that blew me away,” Daniels recalled. 

Daniels laid the blame squarely on what he referred to as the “rampant” homophobia in the black community — specifically, the phenomenon of men secretly engaging in gay sex because of the stigma.

This isn't the first time Daniels has been vocal about wanting to bring this issue to light through the series. Earlier this month he told Time magazine that one of his objectives for Empire was "to address homophobia in the African-American community and in the impoverished community. To educate people."

Watch a clip about about the show in which Smollett talks about portraying Jamal Lyon, his gay character on the show, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Iconography: Lee Daniels' Unique Film Perspective

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To say the list of openly gay, black filmmakers is a short one would be a rather dramatic understatement. The most prominent, of course, is Lee Daniels.

“Gay people see the world differently. As a black person, you see the world differently. It's a unique perspective,” he said to the Huffington Post in 2012. “When I make movies, it's from a very specific place, and it's layered in context. You see my life and are watching my world. If you look at my films, you see life through the eyes of a black, gay man.”

Born in Philadelphia, Christmas Eve, 1959, he told Arsenio Hall that he remembered feeling different at a young age.

“There was never a closet… My earliest memories were coming down the stairs in my mother's high heels at six years old while my dad's playing cards with the buddies.”

Daniels persevered through abuse from his father and other children (he told the Telegraph: “From kindergarten to eighth grade [13 years old], I could train myself not to go to the bathroom all day and then just run home at three o’clock, because in the school toilets I’d get beaten up.”) After selling a nursing agency he started, he started working as casting agent and manager, working on films like Purple Rain and managing stars like Wes Bentley.

In 2001, his production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, released Monster’s Ball, earning Halle Berry an Oscar and launching his career into Hollywood superstardom.

See more highlights of Daniels’ work and share your thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP

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Director Lee Daniels Discusses Growing Up Gay in the Ghetto: VIDEO

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In an interview on Arsenio Hall’s new talk show, director Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) again shared how his experience growing up as a gay, black man continues to influence his films and his perspective.

Daniels also discussed in the interview why he thinks his late father never truly accepted him for being gay.

Said Daniels:

"He was embarrassed, I think.  And I didn’t understand why he was so hard on me about being gay. And I didn’t realize until after I did The Butler that at that time he was a second-class citizen. And that he was called a n***** . He wasn’t a man.  And so when he saw I was gay, he thought that was even ‘Oh my God this kid, what is this kid going to encounter? It’s bad enough.' So after doing The Butler and doing so much research, I understood where his headset was at and I forgave him and I love him."

Watch the full clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Director Lee Daniels Developing Gay Interracial Action Hero Movie Starring Alex Pettyfer


In an interview with Out magazine, The Butler's Lee Daniels (pictured below) revealed his plans to develop an "interracial love affair action movie" with a gay couple. And the best part? He's already nailed down Alex Pettyfer as one-half of the gay duo.

Lee DanielsAccording to Daniels, think of it as a gay Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but the two good-looking guys as the action heroes." The twist? "We don't find out they're gay until the end of the movie," he explains.

He went on to reveal that, "Alex Pettyfer is in it, [but] I have to find the right black guy opposite him. He's so hot, isn't he? So hot. And so aware of his hotness in a way that's so...I love him to death."

With news of Daniels's plan spreading across the web as we speak, it seems the "secret" of the two characters' sexuality won't be much of a secret after all. And as for the second half of the gay couple, what do you think? Which black actor would you love to see playing opposite the gorgeous Pettyfer? 

Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' Gets a Trailer: VIDEO


Last September Oprah published this photo to her Instagram account from the set of The Butler, which she was filming at the time. With her are the film's director Lee Daniels (Precious), Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan, and Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan.

The film is based on the life of Eugene Allen who served eight presidents as the head butler at the White House from 1952-1986, and the trailer has just been released.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via david mixner)

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