Last night's "Empire" (February 26) featured plenty of memorable moments -- #CookiesNookie is a personal favorite -- but perhaps its most powerful was Jamal's coming out. And in true "Empire" fashion, he worked his truth into his music. There was no press conference, no giant media spectacle, no interview with Oprah, just the music. For Jamal, that's what it's always been about.
Jamal came out by reworking his father's hit '90s song "You're So Beautiful" at Empire Entertainment's annual White Party. It was a subtle move from Jamal, and honestly, it was perfect. (And very Frank Ocean, btw.)
But "You're So Beautiful" isn't just an important song; it's a great track. Tbh, this is "Empire"'s hottest release to date. (Sorry "Drip Drop." You've been replaced.) Co-written by Jussie Smollett (Jamal), "You're So Beautiful" sounds like a true Top 40 entry -- and it could be a launching pad for Smollett's music career. The track also features a smooth verse from Yazz (Hakeem), Smollett's onscreen little brother, and a snappy "how much you pay for it?" from the great Taraji P. Henson.
"'You’re So Beautiful' is one of my favorite songs this season," Smollett told EW. “It was produced by the great Jim Beanz and co-written by Jim and myself. When Jim first played the track, it spoke right to me. The lyrics were actually inspired by Gabby Sidibe. She’s confident, sexy, and owns exactly who she is, but every now and then... you just need to simply hear the words, 'You’re So Beautiful.'"
You can also listen to the slow-tempo '90s version of the song, as sung by Terrence Howard (Luscious), below. (Yes, this is the same haunting version Cookie sings in prison. Brb, sobbing.)