“I’m always going to be unchained. I’m not in chains,” Daniels said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday.
The executive producer also promised that the series will tell stories that haven’t been told on a broadcast network before, most notably with the transgender character played by Amiyah Scott.
“Lee didn’t stand up to come right down the middle of the road. And none of us up here came to be a part of a show that was aiming to please everyone,” said star Benjamin Bratt. “He’s going to challenge you, he’s going to provoke you. You’re going to have opinions about it.”
Daniels is no stranger to provocation. The producer made waves with an interview last month in which he said that he chose to make the lead character of the show white because he instinctively felt that “the country needed to heal.”
In the interview, Daniels also said that the reason for his success is his refusal to acknowledge or “embrace” racism throughout his career.
He addressed the subsequent uproar during Wednesday’s panel, saying “When I said ‘heal the nation’… it was about bringing these girls together and watching them come together to build their dreams.”
“Racism is very, very, very real,” he emphasized on Wednesday. “[But] I’m not going to let racism define me.”
Daniels also sang the praises of his home network for allowing him to put two shows on the air with a diverse cast and crew: “That Fox has enabled me to tell the story and to hire both females and minorities… — enabled me again to do it [after “Empire”] — it fills my heart.”