Empire is one of the highest rated shows on primetime television. And while most of us tune in for the Fox drama every Wednesday, there is one person who’d rather do something else with his time.
In a shocking interview with the Northeast Ohio Media Group, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert suggested that the program is using he and his girlfriend, Teyana Taylor’s storyline, even down to the looks. “I don’t watch that stuff man,” Shumpert said.
The NBA player thinks that the show’s character, rapper Hakeem Lyon (played by Bryshere Gray) and his love interest on the show, Tiana Brown (played by Seraya McNeill) is completely based off of their relationship and even looks. “They’re using my girl’s character, her style, her look and she’s not getting anything for it,” Shumpert said about Taylor, who is a real-life R&B singer, dancer and actress.
“They didn’t even change her name,” he explained. “They could have at least let my girl audition for the part instead of stealing her character completely.”
Iman continued, “And come on man, they’re really using a guy with a flat-top like me. Come on. That’s ridiculous. They never called us. We were blindsided. We found out by our family and fans when the show aired.”
According to the basketball player the similarities between the characters have not gone unnoticed. “Her fans are more mad about it than I am,” Shumpert said. “I’m a ball player, but that’s her field. That’s what she does. Me personally, I don’t plan on taking any action but I don’t know about her.”
Sound off: Do you think Hakeem and Tiana are based off of Iman and Taylor’s lives?