Grew Up...with a father that did not accept him the way he was. With a taste for high heels and playing dress-up, Jamal showed signs of being effeminate when he was young, which his father sought to beat out of him.
Living... lavishly, in an apartment in New York paid for by his father.
Profession... musician. Jamal is an extremely talented musician and songwriter. However, homophobia in the hip-hop community prevents him from pursuing his dream to become a successful artist; rather, he prefers to play small gigs. After his mom, Cookie Lyon, is released from prison after 17 years, she offers to help Jamal with his music career. No matter her other flaws, music management is something that Cookie is exceedingly good at.
Interests... playing piano and writing music. Passionate about nurturing his art, even if it means keeping it “so pure only a couple of white kids in Brooklyn and San Francisco even know [his] stuff,” Jamal is the go-to guy for musical assistance. Even his brother and competitor, Hakeem, seeks him out to help him with his own musical pursuits – to their father's disapproval.
Relationship Status... living with his boyfriend, Michael. As Jamal starts seriously pursuing his music, however, it threatens to put a strain on their relationship. He must confront the possibility that he can't have both the music and the boy.
Challenge... gaining acceptance from the world and, more importantly, his father. Jamal says: “All my life, all I ever wanted was for that man to love me.” And sure enough, Jamal retains a degree of loyalty for the man who could never give him the same. Moreover, dependent on his father's money, Jamal has to seriously consider what he values between his music, his father, his wealth, and his boyfriend.
Personality... kind, brave, and principled. Jamal is not the sort of person to be “'more concerned with selling T-shirts and watches” like his father is – which, of course, Lucious perceives as Jamal being “timid” – but he also requires a bit of a push from Cookie to live his life out loud. Jamal's strength definitely lies in his loyalty. He was the only son to visit his mother in prison, and he is always willing to help out his brother, Hakeem, no matter what Lucious says. Even so, one can't help but wonder if finally pursuing his musical dream will cause him to re-evaluate his loyalties.
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