A Cocktail Convo with Empire’s Ta’Rhonda Jones

Empire’s off-screen drama has finally ended. Jussie Smollett got charges of filing a false police report dropped, and he’s maintaining his innocence. So now that he’s popped a bottle to celebrate, we can all once again enjoy Empire.

And who better to enjoy it with than Empire’s own Ta’Rhonda Jones, aka Porsha?

We talked with her just as the news was breaking that Jussie Smollett was having all the charges dropped. She laughed as she told me she didn’t know what to say. “I can’t really have a reaction cuz you’re just now telling me. Yeah but you know I’m happy for him.”

Rivalry Week

“There’s just a bunch of different rivals between the new millennials now.”

Tonight’s episode (8pm ET on FOX) amps up the drama that new characters have brought to the Lyons’ den. “This season we do have new rivals, new clashes between Tiana and the other young lady, Treasure. There’s another rivalry between Blake and Carlito. I’m super excited for everybody to get to see that. The chemistry of that being portrayed.”

As for Porsha, she’s gonna remain above the fray? “Well we know Porsha is unproblematic period so, she don’t bring the drama, that’s the other guys.” Uh-huh. Parts of the episode I’ve screened show her stealing someone else’s artist, signing him, and taking all the credit.

A Slow Burn

Porsha’s character has been with us since she was Cookie’s assistant and stealing her ID to get out of trouble. But her character has never been the headline grabber like Lucious, Cookie, Hakeem, or Jamal. But she told me she likes the way Porsha is playing out. “I’m super excited that the writers were able to slowly unravel different layers of her, and what she’s able to do. So I’m super excited for everybody to see this particular season and see how she’s grown as Cookie’s assistant.”

As for her hopes for season six (which hasn’t been confirmed yet by FOX), Ty’Rhonda tells us Porsha’s journey is just getting started. “This season she is the tour manager for Empire. And she’s getting to see a lot of the artists do their thing. And I feel like she’s being inspired by it. Hopefully next season she’ll be able to get on stage and do her thing.”

Sooo… can we expect any cliffhangers at the end of season five? “You have to tune in. I can’t give away too many spoilers cuz you gotta tune in.”

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

A glass bottle of Barefoot Bubbly. At $7.97 a bottle, it’s the perfect champagne sparkling wine to toast a friend getting out of big legal trouble.. even if in the back of your mind you still think they probably did it!


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