WBEZ brings you unbiased news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.From the teasers for the season premiere of the hip-hop drama “Empire,” it sounds like it will be a juicy season. When the show debuted on FOX last year, it pulled in 9.8 million viewers for the first episode — making it the network’s biggest hit in years — to the surprise of many. Empire has a mostly African American cast, and the show seems to get more popular by the week, which is clear from social media. Fans are live-tweeting episodes and updating their Facebook posts reacting to what’s happening in the show. “Empire” has also thrust not-so-popular issues within the African-American community into the forefront, like homophobia and mental health. Jane Rhodes, a professor and head of African American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joins us. She recently led a panel discussion about the cultural impact of the show.