Fox's 'Empire' plans Prince tribute episode

Empire
“Empire” stars (clockwise from left) Terrence Howard, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Gray, Trai Byers, and Taraji P. Henson.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Season Four of Fox’s Empire will include an episode honoring the late Prince.

It will be a labor of love for Sanaa Hamri, an executive producer on the music-fueled hit created by West Philadelphia’s Lee Daniels. Hamri, who worked with Prince – among other things, she directed the video for “Musicology” – will direct the episode, the season’s fourth,  she said Tuesday after an Empire session at the Television Critics Association’s winter meetings.

“We actually shoot the Prince day on the 21st of August, which is actually the day of the solar eclipse, so I find that very meaningful, and I think it’s almost his energy shining upon the moment — although we’re going to get dark for about 25 minutes,” she said.

Sanaa Hamri, an executive producer of “Empire.”

Here’s what she had to say about the episode:

“We’re going to have a big party in the [episode] … It’s completely Prince-themed. I’m having Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Hakeem (Philadelphia’s Bryshere Y. Gray) sing one of his songs, “Let’s Go Crazy,” in a celebratory fashion. Everybody, all of the cast, is going to be kind of dressed in a Prince theme – even my crew’s going to – to kind of honor him, and it’s going to be for Bella’s birthday party, [for] Hakeem’s daughter. So we’ve got the cake, we’ve got some great people there, we’re going to have some of his original band there, which is going to be fun. And I’m just so happy to be able to kind of bring this to life this season and also celebrate him as a person and also a very dear friend of mine. So I think this is the best way to pay homage.”

Empire returns at 8 p.m. on Sept. 27.