power tca panel

(L-R) Actors Joseph Sikora, Omari Hardwick, Creator & Executive Producer Courtney Kemp Agboh and Executive Producer/Actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson speak onstage during the ‘Power’ panel at the Starz portion of the 2015 Winter Television Critics Association press tour at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2015 in Pasadena, California.

*During Starz’ panel for “Power” today at the Television Critics Association press tour, we asked 50 Cent directly about his back and forth with “Empire” stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard.

50 fired the first shot last week by suggesting that “Empire” copied the promotional art and other material straight from “Power.” Henson was then asked by a Twitter to respond. Instead, she wrote: “I pay attention to $’s NOT cents.”

50 then responded to Taraji: “Don’t be mad at me. lol. I love your work.”  He went on to say, “That fine motherf**ker Taraji talking about me? I was gonna date that motherf**ker. I’m gonna have to think about this s**t now.”

In an interview with The Wrap, Henson said of the rap star’s response, “50 Cent is a comedian. He loves to push buttons. He’s a funny guy. I never took offense to it.”

Howard also had nice things to say about his “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” co-star, telling The Wrap: “Fifty is my monster man. We served jail time together in his film, you know, we’ve been naked together. …I love the fact that we’re both pushing the envelope with our shows and what it says about cinema and television, how the change has occurred to where black men can be on opposing levels, because we’re both telling a similar story. So it’s kinda great. I’m proud of him—very proud of him.”

50 cent tca seated

In Pasadena, Calif. this afternoon, we asked 50 whether this back and forth is merely strategy to promote “Power” as its executive producer, or if he truly feels that “Empire” bit his show’s artwork.

The rapper and mogul doubled down on his notion that “Empire’s” promo art was indeed similar.

“They used ‘Power’ in the tag art – ‘A Music Power Empire’. They didn’t have to do that,” he said.

“I have a lot of friends connected to that program – Brian Grazer, Terrence Howard, Timbaland is the music supervisor and my partner in SMS Audio.

“Taraji, I’ve seen her a few times. I don’t have a real relationship with her like that. And Terrence didn’t say anything. He said, ‘That’s my friend.’”

As for clapping back harder against Taraji’s response directly, 50 says he won’t do it.

He explains below:

“Power” returns to Starz this summer.

Watch a recap of season 1 below: