Jamal Lyon is a main character in the television series, Empire. He is one of the sons of Lucious and Cookie Lyon, the brother of Andre and Hakeem Lyon, the ex-husband of Olivia Lyon and the uncle of Bella Lyon.
Lucious named him as his successor in the season one finale "Who I Am", and promoted him to Vice-Chairman of Empire Entertainment. He was also the interim CEO while his father was incarcerated. He is portrayed by actor Jussie Smollett, and he first appears in "Pilot".
Before the Pilot
Jamal had shown signs of being effeminate when he was a child, and was thrown in the trash by his father, who did not want a son like that. His mother, Cookie, stood up for him, but after her incarceration, he grew up without her for 17 years, during which his father often abused him in an attempt to toughen him up to "make him into a man".
Jamal had released a self-titled album nearly ten years ago, at age 18, however it did not have wide commercial success outside of Williamsburg or Berkeley.
Jamal is a gay character in Empire, he serves as a person who is aware of the homophobia in African-American communities. Jamal doesn't seem to abide by society's views on the music industry and how it is set up, showing why he doesn't want to release an album. He has a strong relationship with his mother Cookie, who envisions his stardom despite his sexuality. His relationship with his father Lucious is however, is filled with tension and estrangement. Throughout season 1, his father's acceptance of him soon leads him through a personality change which suspiciously begins to reflect that of Lucious.