(CNN) — Terrence Howard would like a little bit more reality on his hit show “Empire.”
The actor, who plays hip-hop recording mogul Lucious Lyon on the series, recently told Entertainment Weekly that’s he’s “mad that we don’t say nr in the show.”
“Why is TV showing something different from the reality of the world?” Howard asked. “Why is there a thing called censorship that stop people from hearing everyday talk? We use n* every day. It’s become part of a conversation. Why aren’t we using it in the show?”
He expanded on his thoughts during an appearance Monday on “Access Hollywood.”
“Well, I believe if we’re gonna really tackle racism, if we’re gonna tackle bigotry, if we’re gonna tackle homophobia, we need to attack it dead-on. You don’t just sit up, you know, let’s give a little aspirin right here; no, we need to take the sutures, open up the problem and reach in and grab it,” the actor explained.
“And since nr is used in almost every conversation in most black neighborhoods, why is it that we don’t hear it on TV anymore? Are white people afraid of it? Did they create the word? But if this is something that we use on a daily basis, then let’s address what it really means.”
And what does the word mean to the “Empire” star?
“Oh, it could mean love; sometimes it’s a noun; sometimes it’s a verb; sometimes it’s an adjective; it’s all, there’s a spirit attached to it, you know,” Howard said. “My dad uses it. My brothers use it. I use it. I’m sitting here, I’m hoping maybe I won’t use it with my son, but I don’t know if I’ll be honest if I didn’t use it with my son. You know, my friends use it. I call my white friends ‘what’s up, my n?’ You know, that’s, it has taken on this term to us, but it’s blown out of proportion outside the world, so I don’t know.”
But co-star Taraji P. Henson, who plays his ex-wife, Cookie Lyon, is not feeling it.
When TMZ asked whether she believed the Fox series should be using the word, she responded, “Naw, you might piss people off.”
David Rambo, one of the show’s writers, told TMZ that as a white man, he didn’t think he could make the call on whether to use the word. Context is everything, he said.
“It’s a powerful word,” Rambo told TMZ. “It’s such a huge issue. It came up a lot in our writers room.”
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