Cookie Lyon

Cookie Lyon

Photo Credit: Fox Press

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew West Philadelphia. That’s where Cookie met, fell in love with, and married Lucious Lyon. Involved in the drug trade with her husband, Cookie ended up in jail for 17 years because of a drug deal gone wrong. That left Lucious to raise their three kids – Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem – and seek a divorce.

Living... unapologetically. Unafraid to storm into business meetings and her ex-husband's house uninvited, Cookie has one goal: “I'm here to get what's mine.” After all, it was her $400,000 that created Empire Entertainment, her ex-husband's successful music label, and her musical instincts that helped elevate Lucious Lyon to his current icon status.

Profession... music manager for her son, Jamal, and board member of Empire. Of course, she would also argue that she is a co-founder of the company, to Lucious's chagrin.

Interests... nurturing musical talent and thwarting Lucious's attempts at controlling their family. Cookie has a legitimately great ear for music, and immediately plays a large role in securing great acts and performances for both Empire and Jamal. However, with Lucious constantly trying to pit their sons against each other and promote Hakeem over Jamal, Cookie also finds pleasure in pursuing a cat-and-mouse game with Lucious.

Relationship Status... single... and for a long time. Lucious divorced her during her 17-year prison sentence, leaving Cookie lonely and “twisting in the wind” while her husband moved on to bigger and better things. However, her return does re-ignite some chemistry between them...

Challenge... establishing (or re-establishing) herself in an empire that was largely built while she was in prison while protecting her sons. After 17 years away, Cookie has a lot of catching up to do, which is not too easy when her ex-husband has already put a new woman, Anika Calhoun, in Cookie's place both professionally and personally. Even worse, Cookie's son, Hakeem, has a hard time dealing with his mother's return, blaming her for not being there for him during his youth. Already coping with nearly two decades of incarceration – about which she explains, “You lose your soul when you feel like the world has forgotten you” – Cookie also tries to mother three boys who have already become men.

Personality... brash but caring, with a flair for the dramatic. Unafraid to speak her mind, ever, Cookie loves to make a scene, be it with her flamboyant outfits or saucy attitude. However, Cookie reserves her more sensitive moments for the three boys that she did not have the opportunity to raise. For instance, she handles her son Jamal’s sexuality as a gay man with compassion, “Listen to me – you're different, okay? It's only something mama knows but it's going to make life real hard for you sometimes. But I want you to always remember, I got you.” But for everyone else, whom she does not owe anything after all this time, Cookie only has one thing to say: “Yeah, that's my name. Take a bite."


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