Raven-Symone Calls ‘Empire’ Co-Star Jussie Smollett Her ‘Best Friend’
Spoiler alert! Empire secrets revealed ahead!
Raven-Symone packed a wallop when she returned to TV on Empire, dropping the bombshell that Jamal (Jussie Smollett) was possibly the father of her character's daughter, Lola. However, in the March 12 episode, "Sins of the Father," it was revealed that Jamal's dad Lucious is actually Lola's father. Say what?!
The episode undoubtedly left the audience reeling, and Raven-Symone dished to The Hollywood Reporter about all of the baby mama drama, working with her "best friend" Jussie Smollett and what's next for her character Olivia.
"I hope [Olivia and Jamal discuss Lola's true paternity]! Otherwise we'd just be perpetuating what we don't want people to do, which is keeping their mouths shut about crazy stuff!" Raven told THR. "I think we definitely have to show why Olivia and Jamal have a connection anyway that would make Lucious want them to marry each other, and I would love to be able to perform [musically] with my best friend."
In fact, the former Disney Channel star repeatedly refers to Jussie as her bestie throughout the interview, discussing how much fun it was to finally get to work with him professionally:
"We did a little music together prior to him being on the show, but as my best friend, normally we act like that when we're out in a club having fun," Raven revealed. "'Let's do a Grease rendition; let's pretend we're a couple and have fun on the dancefloor!' He's my bro."
As for the plot line that Olivia was Jamal's "beard" back in the day — the two were involved before Jamal came out — Raven was happy that the show touched on such issues.
"I think that's what [director] Lee Daniels does best: shining a light on stories and situations that society sweeps under the rug," she revealed. "People can live a long time in heterosexual relationships on the outside when they're actually homosexual on the inside. They may come out later in their years because they were afraid or they had no one to look up to to help them, and I think having this show helps. It helps show the fluidity of sex."
"Nowadays I don't really want to be labeled either way, but I want people to understand what I'm talking about," she said of her own sexuality. "Sex is fluid, and Jamal and Olivia did have sex once!" (For his part, Jussie Smollett came out to Ellen DeGeneres earlier this week, saying, "There is no closet … no closet that I have ever been in.")
As for what's next for her character, well, it looks like Olivia isn't going anywhere any time soon.
"Lee has said there will be opportunity for Olivia to pop in and out, and for more of the story to be revealed and more great tension [to arise]," Raven hinted. YES!
One last thing? And as for the idea that Raven's first role — Olivia from the Cosby Show — grew up to be Olivia on Empire, well, she just laughs that off.
"I think that's a little bad!" she replied, laughing. "But hey, maybe the industry just really likes that name for me, and it's jump-started my career, so I'll take it!"
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