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“Empire” Star Reveals Who Inspired “Tiana” Character & It’s Not Teyana Taylor

Written By Rosario Harper

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“Empire” actress Serayah McNeill recently talked about her run on the hit Fox show and revealed what real-life inspiration is behind her character “Tiana.”

According to McNeill, “Tiana” is supposed to represent music stars like divas Rihanna and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

“I talked to writers and I talked to producers about my character and about exactly what their view was and they mentioned people, but they didn’t mention them. They mentioned Rihanna, Beyoncé … powerful women in the industry.” (Hip Hollywood)

Check out what NBA superstar singled out “Empire” for basing its Tiana off his girlfriend on the next page…

Recently, NBA star Iman Shumpert said a reporter twisted his words in a recent interview about “Empire.”

“Fans of the show and friends have told us on many occasions that couple favors us but we do not all feel that our lives are being copied/stolen. I apologize to the actors on the show because they’re just being professionals and don’t deserve slander that’s not what I was trying to portray and I have to be more careful with my choice of words.” (TMZ Sports)

Shumpert also said despite not being an avid watcher, he supported “Empire.”

“I do not appreciate the writer using his questions with my answers to draw quotes like I was making these elaborate answers but that’s the media. The writer took a 2-3 min convo of locker room talk after a GREAT TEAM WIN and made it look like a sit down interview and it wasn’t. He twisted words to get the point that he wanted to get across. This is not that serious and though we don’t watch the show we are not against it.” (TMZ Sports)

Prior to his clarification, Iman appeared to take shots at the popular show.

“They’re using my girl’s character, her style, her look and she’s not getting anything for it. They didn’t even change her name. They could have at least let my girl audition for the part instead of stealing her character completely. 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. I don’t see how they can deny it. Everybody knows. … “My girl and her fans are more mad about it than I am,” Shumpert said, via Haynes. “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.” (Cleveland)


Written by Rosario Harper

SOHH.com Writer. When I'm not covering hip-hop news and announcements, I'm deep into an Audible book and eating veggies.


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