Indy native gets big break on season 2 of ‘Empire’

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 21, 2015)-- Fans are getting settled into season two of "Empire." This time around the characters are going deeper and looking into the past to give us a better understanding of why they are the way they are.

By now we've seen the flashback scenes with Lucious Lyon as a child with his mother. That role is being played by a young Hoosier who got his start here at home.

Shannon Brown's career started at IPS School 70 when his theater teacher noticed he had a true talent. So his mom, also a teacher, got on board and went full tilt, as they call it, and headed to Los Angeles.  That journey led to his role on season two of "Empire."

"My mom told me you got an audition for 'Empire' and I was like stop joking with me," said Shannon Brown.

The 11-year-old got the audition and booked the job of a lifetime. He's playing the young Lucious Lyon in the flashback scenes along with former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland. Shannon's character is Dwight Walker, Lucious' name before he became famous. Viewers are learning more about Lucious' life growing up with a mother who struggled with mental illness.

"Kelly was like super nurturing to me and it was just like the best moment of my life," said Brown.

Shannon and his family moved to Los Angeles four years ago. His hard work has paid off. He's back home in Indy where his film "Upendo" is playing at this year's Heartland Film Festival. His mom put her own career on hold to make his dreams come true.

"You're around the best of the best and to be around that energy and for him to be able to absorb that on so many different occasions is such a blessing," said Brown's mother, Sheila McPherson.

Brown says the "Empire" cast was very welcoming. He says he wasn't nervous about playing the younger version of such a well known actor.

"It feels amazing just to be playing the younger version of somebody. Like one of the best in the business. They gave me tips, they gave me advice," said Brown.

This young star knows who made all of this possible for him.

"I stop and think and I'm like this is all because of my mom, my dad, my theater teacher and God," he said.

"Empire" films in Chicago so while he waits to film again, Shannon gets to live home in Indianapolis with his family and attend school with his friends.

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