Andre Lyon

Intersectionality of Race, Class and Gender: The Complex Representation of Bipolar Disorder on Fox Network’s Empire.

For this study researchers specifically look into Fox Network’s Empire exploring the intersectionality of race, class, and gender.  They looked into representations of mental illnesses in television programming and argued the lack of major characters with mental illness in entertainment media by using a critical analysis method and framing their theory on the para-social relationships with audience and the way they depict characters with mental illness (Frigerio, 2017).  The study argues how empire is a “complex and problematic” representation of mental illness with one of the main characters Andre Lyons (Frigerio, 2017). Andre is the son of two major music producers, Upper class, black man who suffers from bi-polar.

I am so happy I have found an article that has a similar study intent, of lack of mental illness being portrayed in films. It shows me that there are researchers who are researching this. This study will help my research because it is a similar study, but it also gives me an idea to talk about African American representation. However, I would like to read more on their theoretical framework on “para-social relationships”. I would like to see if that could be used in my own research. I am also willing to see some of the articles they have cited to further guide my literature review.

Last week, I had the pleasure to finally meet Professor Weatherston. She is amazing. I got to talk to her about my script and my ideas of wanting to do film festivals. She had given me great insight on some websites to enter my film in and gave me advice on camera angle shots that are different and can show mental illness. She is a part of my committee; however, I do not know who to put as a chair. I am considering four committee members and I am waiting for my potential committee member, Professor Jessica Hamilton, who teaches in African American studies to get back to me. I am hoping she gets back to me soon, because I believe she fits my project perfect!


Smith-Frigerio, S. (2017). Intersectionality of Race, Class and Gender: The Complex Representation of Bipolar Disorder on Fox Networks Empire. Howard Journal of Communications, 1-16. doi:10.1080/10646175.2017.1407720



Leave a Reply