One of the best things about making it in showbiz is when the ole hometown newspapers start lauding you. “Take that, homecoming queen who wouldn’t talk to me! Take that, English teacher who tried to get me kicked out of high school! ” Yep, we’re wondering what Eric Haywood’s old peeps are making of this (and what Eric’s making of them):
by Karen Stokes
From writing screenplays to directing and producing movies and music videos, Milwaukee native Eric Haywood has built an impressive resume.
The most recent addition to his career is writing for the powerful family, musical drama “Empire”.
Empire, which debuted in January was co-created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong who also collaborated on the movie “The Butler”.
The runaway hit show centers around the Lyon family headed by Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) who runs the hip hop music and entertainment company, Empire Enterprises. Along with his ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P Henson) and their three sons, the family tackles illness, betrayal, homosexuality and bipolar disorder.
“The family is the spine of the show. I love the idea of seeing a Black family on TV dealing with these issues,” Haywood said. “These aren’t necessarily Black issues, they’re universal human issues.”
Born and raised on Milwaukee’s north side, Haywood 44, attended Custer High School,( presently known as Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education).
It’s been awhile since he’s hung out in Milwaukee.
“It’s a little heartbreaking that Capitol Court and Northridge don’t exist anymore, I feel pieces of my childhood are being erased,” Haywood said.
But Milwaukee was where his career began.
“This may sound corny but I feel like I always was a writer. It was more like I became aware that this was always my passion,” Haywood said.
“Between my junior and senior year in high school, I realized there were schools for filmmaking, writing and directing. When I realized that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) had a film program, it was like a match made in heaven.”
While attending UW-M, he directed videos and wrote screenplays in his spare time consciously preparing himself for a career as a filmmaker.