The most popular TV show of the year so far is Fox’s Empire, a drama about the hip-hop industry. But one person isn’t feeling it: Cavs guard Iman Shumpert says the show’s producers stole not only his likeness for a character, but also that of his girlfriend.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Chris Haynes:
“I don’t watch that stuff, man,” Shumpert told Northeast Ohio Media Group with an annoyed expression on his face.
“They’re using my girl’s character, her style, her look and she’s not getting anything for it,” Shumpert said of Teyana Taylor, a real-life R&B singer, dancer and actress who is Shumpert’s girlfriend. “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.”
In the series, Hakeem has a girlfriend named Tiana, (played by Seraya McNeill) an R&B singer and dancer who is signed to the record label. The fictional character has an eerily similar persona to Taylor.
Aside from having a first name similar to Taylor’s, Tiana has an identical hairstyle. Taylor’s signature appearance is wearing her hair in a puffed out, curly form. It’s hard not to see the similarities.
Here’s a video for a song from the show, “Drip Drop,” which features both Hakeem and Tiana. There is a definite resemblance between Hakeem’s look and Shumpert’s:
Shumpert, by the way, is an accomplished rapper in his own right. His Th3 #Post-90s mixtape, released in late 2012, is worth checking out.