As you know the character ‘Jamal’ played by Jussie Smollett is truly based off of Lee Daniels life, and producer Tim “Timbaland” Mosley, a friend of Daniels’s who produced the series’ original tracks, wasn’t aware of the nature of Jamal’s storyline, and he was quite uncomfortable, according to Lee Daniels..
Lee talks about pitching the idea to Timbaland in Out Magazine:
“I pitched the pilot to him, and he came back with this incredible, breathtaking music in 48 hours,” Daniels says. “And soon it was time for me to show him the pilot. My instinct told me to leave when Jamal and [his boyfriend] Michael kiss, so I got up to go to the bathroom. When I came back, I knew [Timbaland] was fascinated by seeing his music in the work, but he said, ‘Those guys kissing, man. Wow.’ [The comment] could be construed negatively or positively, so I didn’t push it. I just didn’t wanna go there. Again, my instinct—or maybe my inner child or something—told me not to.”
When Timbaland’s wife and children were also brought in to to view the premiere episode, Daniels says that the music maestro asked that his kids step out of the room during the kissing scene, and Daniels, claiming to be “in work mode,” opted not to “get into a political conversation or give an opinion.” Since then, though, Daniels says that Timbaland, whom he refers to as a “buddy,” has changed his tune.
“What’s so great about this story is that it comes full circle,” Daniels says. “[Working on this show has] changed [Timbaland’s] opinion on how he feels about gays. He said it. And I remember hanging up the phone and being very emotional after talking to him, and after him telling me that. And how he really had this epiphany. It was beautiful, and it deepened our friendship.” (To bring things even more full circle, Timbaland’s wife, Monique Idlett, is involved in Empire’s costume design, while Daniels’s partner, stylist Jahil Fisher, is set to work with her as a consultant. The two couples have had dinner together, Daniels s
I feel like a confused white person in a discussion about racism…. But why he had to put Timbaland out there like that? I get the feeling Lee Daniels was being Messy….