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.