Empire's Tiana Brown aka Serayah McNeill reveals cast is "confused" and didn't know how to react to Jussie Smollett scandal
About a week ago, 'Empire' aired its last episode featuring Jussie Smollett - the actor who was recently accused of staging a hate crime on his own self. Following the episode, his co-stars including Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard wrote an open letter in support of bringing Smollett back on the show and fellow cast member Serayah McNeill gave us a little insight into how the cast, as a whole, is doing with respect to coming to terms with the scandal.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) caught up with the 'Empire' star who plays the role of Tiana Brown on the show, at the premiere of 'The Last Summer,' and in an exclusive interview with us, she spilled how challenging the recent scenario has been for the cast members. "I think everyone is just confused right now, and really didn't know how to react and if they should react," said the actress, before quickly adding: "But I think the common thread with us all is the support."
McNeill also let us into what fans can expect regarding the future of the show, as the fifth season culminated recently. "Hopefully, in season six, Tiana's there to represent and everything smooths over, and we get to have another great amazing season," she told us, after addressing how she had no clue how popular the show would become in the years to come when she first embarked on the journey of playing Tiana.
"Absolutely not!" The actress remarked when she was asked if she had foreseen 'Empire' taking off the way it did with ardent fans all over the globe. "I had no idea what 'Empire' was," she said. "I knew who Lee Daniels (creator) was, and Taraji and Terrence too, and that's why I was like 'Oh my god this is huge..., it's a huge opportunity!' But I had no idea. No one else knew, so there was nothing I could ask the next person about. I think it was just fate for all of us. It was such a fresh cast as well. For a lot of us on the show, it was just the first time doing this too."
McNeill plays the role of a recording artist on the show and became a series regular from the second season onwards. When it comes to her real-life inspirations, she gushed about how she has "always loved Halle Berry, Anita Baker, Toni Braxton, Celine Dion, and Michael Jackson."