“I’m here because the next President of the United States invited me,”Empire co-creator Lee Daniels said today from the Philadelphia stage at the Democratic National Convention. “I was a little scared at first,” he added. “I wondered if Hillary [Clinton] really knew who I was. Not just the work I do in entertainment but who I really am.” To big applause from the crowd, the Clinton supporter told them “this is the most important election of our lifetime.”
“It hit me like a brick, Hillary knows me, she knows me,” the subdued Daniels said after listing off the members of his own family in jail, under house arrest, or dead from gun violence including his own father, a Philadelphia police officer. “And that’s what gave me the courage to come and speak in front of you all tonight.”
Daniels took the stage after California Gov. Jerry Brown and before a mother of one of the victims of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub last month along with two survivors. “Hillary has stood with families of people who have died due to gun violence,” the Empire executive producer asserted with a stumble or two off the TelePrompter. “She’s helped turn their heartache into action. I wish she was around for me when my Dad died. Hillary understands our right to bear guns but wants to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands.”
With the blockbuster numbers Fox’s hip-hop drama continues to pull in, Daniels’ out-of-primetime remarks today were likely not the largest audience he’s ever addressed, directly or indirectly. A longtime backer of both President Barack Obama and Clinton, the Empire boss was one of the guests at the White House state dinner for the President of China and his wife last September. That get-together also saw Disney’s Bob Iger and wife Willow Bay, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and Legendary Pictures’ Thomas Tull in attendance.
Seemingly just a tad lighter on the celeb factor than Tuesday’s Day 2, today’s DNC did feature onstage appearances by Machete director Robert Rodriguez, former The View co-host Star Jones, and Avatar star Sigourney Weaver who introduced a James Cameron-produced short film about climate change with appearances by ex-California GOP governor and Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Black, Don Cheadle and America Ferrera, who spoke at the DNC yesterday. American Horror Story‘s Angela Bassett is scheduled to address the DNC this evening.
After remarks by Vice President Joe Biden, VP nominee Tim Kaine will take the stage in the primetime slot for NBC, ABC and CBS as well as continuing coverage from CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. The Virginia senator will be followed by Obama, who is set to be immediately preceded by a film looking back at his administration and a performance by Lenny Kravitz. The Grammy winner and Hunger Games actor was hanging out with Daniels earlier today:
— lee daniels (@leedanielsent) July 27, 2016