Empire is the story of Empire Records, a mega-successful record conglomerate headed by heavy-handed CEO Lucious Lyons (played by Terrence Howard). Lucious has three sons: Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem. Hakeem is a rapper who dates a babyfaced singer named Tiana. Cleveland Cavaliers guard and sometime rapper Iman Shumpert thinks Empire is plagiarizing his and his girlfriend's lives, and, worse, his haircut. But, man oh man, he's never been so wrong in his life.
Both Shumpert and Hakeem have a similar look, specifically their hairstyle. They both have flat-top haircuts. Iman tells Cleveland.com:
"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."
They're using a guy with a flat-top and that is ridiculous. Bitch stole my look! It is, to be fair, a similar look! It's also a look that's back en vogue, and if there's someone who should be in the hot seat for jacking it from somewhere else, it's Iman, who stole it from the movie House Party.
You know who else had a flat-top for a while? Pre-Willenium Will Smith. You know who else had a flat-top? Usher. You know who else has, currently, a flat-top? Will.i.am. Iman Shumpert does not have a patent on flat-tops. I looked into it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The flat-top belongs to no one. The flat-top belongs to the people.
Apparently Hakeem and Shump dress similarly, too. To that I would just say that pretty much everyone is trying to ride some 1980s Theo Huxtable wave these days, so Iman, your style is not special.
Iman also argues that he and his purported TV doppelganger Hakeem have similar mannerisms and flow. This is dumb and stupid. Iman Shumpert wants to be a rapper. Okay, technically he is a rapper. He made a mixtape and he did a "freestyle" verse on Migos's breakout hit "Versace." He's fine as a rapper. I don't think the NBA has had a musical act this good since Shaq's 1993 album Shaq Diesel. But as for Iman and Hakeem having the same sound, they simply do not.
Hakeem's biggest hit so far is the graphically named "Drip Drop." Listen below. I'll wait.
Now, for comparison, here's Iman hopping on "Versace."
They sound nothing alike. Actually, I think Iman sounds better. Which brings me to a question that also involves the claim that the two have similar mannerisms: If you were going to compare yourself to someone, why the hell pick Hakeem? He's a spoiled, whiny baby who is only famous because his daddy is the CEO of a record company. He's immature and he dates women who are his mother's age because he has mommy issues. He gets into fist fights with his brothers. He's mean to his mom. He two-times girls. His songs are corny. That's not someone you want to be claiming was inspired by you.
But Iman says this isn't just about him. He says that Hakeem's girlfriend is a direct rip off of Iman's real-life girlfriend, singer and G.O.O.D. Music affiliate Teyana Taylor. Shumpert told Cleveland.com:
"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."
I'm beginning to wonder if Iman Shumpert has face blindness. The two look nothing alike. My previous point stands here: Just because someone has the same haircut doesn't mean they're jocking your swag. If that were the case, every brunette blogger in Brooklyn who wears overalls would have to answer to these hands, because listen bitches: overalls are MY thing.
The first thing I see with Tiana is more of a baby Rihanna type of look than anything. As for the two having the same name, Tiana/Teyana is not an uncommon name. According to BabyCenter.com, Tiana is the 105th most popular name for baby girls in 2015. Teyana, on the other hand, doesn't rank. Coincidences: they happen.
Also, they just don't sound that similar. If you're going to argue that, then we need to point out that a lot of pop music sounds the same. Teyana Taylor would not benefit from this argument.
This is Tiana:
And here's Teyana Taylor's "Maybe":
The latter is a better song and Teyana Taylor has a much wider vocal range and I kinda like this song. Why would you want people thinking your girl was less than she is?
I've laid out the evidence nicely here, but there's one thing missing here. Tiana is a secret lesbian! She and Hakeem are only dating for the mutual benefit of their careers, as famous people are prone to do. She has a girlfriend! Her relationship with Hakeem is all a ruse! So ... Iman Shumpert, are you trying to tell us something? Are you ... Is your girlfriend ... Nevermind. But the point is, call me when Teyana Taylor turns out to be a secret lesbian. I will believe you then and only then.