Is Hakeem Gay or Nah????? YESSSSSSSSSSS

Over the weekend there was so much Tea that took place. The one that of course took us by storm was the one about ole FINE ass Yazzzzzzzzzzzz from Empire aka Hakeem.

CHILE . . Look Who Was Photo’d UP IN THE GAY CLUB IN ATLANTA Yesterday . . . Chile We Knew When We FIRST SAW HIM On Empire . . . There Was A Lil TWANG TO HIM!!!

Yazz, a.k.a. Hakeem from Empire, was up in a popular Atlanta Gay Club last night. He was put ON BLAST by cross-dressing Instagram star Donth8tae. Cant say we’re all that surprised.

BTW – this is the dude that he was with in the club.

A video posted by TaeDaTea (@donth8tae) on Oct 30, 2015 at 1:02pm PDT

Now #NoShade, this lil boy is Fineeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and I can def see him being Yaz’s type. I just wanna know. Based on what we see of Hakeem, who’s the Bottom or are the both Verse?????

On another note, I need to see the pictures of him and Yaz in the club. I heard they exist so I need to see them LIVE and DIRECT……

Is ‚Empire‘ Star Bryshere Gray Single?

Bryshere Gray, one of the stars of the new FOX musical drama, under wraps. I mean, if he does have a secret girlfriend, it seems like they must be jumping through more hoops than just having a normal relationship. Because he’s wrapped up in the whirlwind of playing a character on a hit show in his very first onscreen role, in addition to continuing to work on his musical career. That’s crazy enough, even without a significant other to contend with. Plus, every day or two he’s on a new red carpet or a new event, so he must be traveling constantly — not the easiest way to maintain a steady relationship.

On screen, Gray is a bit of a player. In every scene Hakeem is eyeing a different lady, whether he’s at the club, a party, or getting a haircut. And while he’s the baby of the family, so you can’t blame him for being a little immature, he’ll have to grow up a lot and stop staring at girls if Lucious is going to successfully groom him into the heir of Empire Entertainment. And Hakeem may be Lucious‘ best option, since he doesn’t like that the eldest Lyon, Andre, is so business-minded and does not accept his youngest son Jamal because he’s gay.

But Hakeem and Gray aren’t all that similar, something that Yazz (Gray’s rap alias) is more than aware of. In an interview on the red carpet at the premiere, he explained how his parents were not connected within the music industry whatsoever, and that he had to make his own career.

And Gray definitely has a better relationship with his mother than his counterpart does. Hakeem mistreated his mom by disrespecting her and calling her a b***h — right to her face. She may have just gotten out of prison half a day earlier, but she’s still his mom, and if that’s how Hakeem treats women, I hope the character doesn’t enter a relationship any time soon. But, no worries, this Instagram from Gray makes it clear that he has nothing but love for his mom in real life.

In upcoming episodes, Macy Gray will guest star as a much older woman who starts a secret romance with Hakeem. But for now, Bryshere Gray seems to living the single life. I’m sure, however, that he has plenty of new fans who would love to change that.

Did you miss any of Hakeem’s relationship drama on ’s first season? Catch up with Bustle’s Season 1 drunk recap here:

Is 'Empire' Star Bryshere Gray Single?

Serayah Says Tiana’s Gay Thing on ‚Empire‘ is Over, But The Music is Just Beginning

Among its several other breakthroughs, Fox’s hit drama Empire has positioned a gay artist as an R&B star and built several storylines about the homophobia he faces – including from his own father.

But as Empire heads into its final two fall episodes (9 p.m. ET Wednesday this week and 8 p.m. ET Wednesday next week), the key player in one of the show’s lesbian dramas says that turn surprised her as much as it surprised any viewer.

Serayah, who plays the rising singing star Tiana, was talking to TV writers Monday about those last two episodes, in which she will premiere her new single “Aces High.”

She also talked about Tiana’s now-ended affair with fellow singer India.

“I didn’t know it would go that way,” Serayah admitted. “It wasn’t in her [initial] breakdown. . . . It came later. I didn’t want to just do it. I wanted to know where she was coming from.”

So she talked to the writers, she said, “and what we came down with was that she’s going through a period of being in the industry, being in the fast life, when people are trying things they’ve never done before.”

Their affair was exposed by Tiana’s former manager Anika (Grace Gealey), and the revelation torpedoed Tiana’s relationship with Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Y. Gray). Soon Tiana and India broke up as well.

Serayah said Monday it’s possible Tiana and Hakeem could get back together: “With exes, anything is possible.”

She thinks the odds are longer for Tiana and India.

“It was an experiment,” says Serayah, from which Tiana concluded “okay, not for me.”

Still, Serayah says, “I understood [why Tiana did it] a lot better” after she talked with the writers, and she says the storyline resonated with viewers.

“I get recognition when I’m out on the street,” she says. “I have the gay community on my side.”

The bigger battle for her affection on the show, though, she says, may be between Hakeem and her new boyfriend, rapper Graham.

“Her story is very open-ended,” says Serayah. “She has a lot of history and feelings for Hakeem. They’ve had their little ups and downs, but as far as Graham goes, she likes him but not as much as Hakeem.”

Who Tiana definitely isn’t liking at the moment is Nessa (Sierra McClain), a rival aspiring star who’s getting help from Hakeem’s brother Andre (Trai Byers),

“You will definitely be surprised at Tiana and Nessa” in upcoming episodes, says Serayah. “I’ve never seen Tiana so outraged at someone.”

Expect a different kind of heat in those girl scenes.

Serayah also hopes to bring the heat with her music, prominently including “Aces High.”

“It’s a really fun song,” she says. “It’s a crossover song that could be played anywhere.”

It’s also part of an album of new material that she’s recording. Originally she’d hoped it could drop early in 2017, but now, she says, that’s been pushed back.

Serayah has said before that she always dreamed of being a recording artist and an actress. Now that she’s reached both those goals at the age of 21, she says that honestly, “I don’t think about it a lot.

“The most surprising part to me is that the universe gave this to me in one package.”

Her inspirations, she says, are her mother, Janet Jackson and Beyonce – her mother for support, Jackson for being “so amazing on stage” and Beyonce for being so successful at business as well as performing.

Other television Serayah watches for fun includes Insecure, Power and Black-ish. One of the things that drew her to Empire, she says, is that “it shows any people, including black people, can become moguls and millionaires.”

As for the ambitious Tiana, Serayah says “she and I have a lot of similarities. We’re go-getters and dreamers. There’s the singing and dancing, and how she’s fighting off all the no’s and waiting to get the yes, then fighting to go forward.”

Serayah Says Tiana's Gay Thing on 'Empire' is Over, But The Music is Just Beginning

Empire’s Tiana Is A Hot Girl, Has A Hot Girl (And Boy!)

Lady lovers assemble! This past week, Empire’s Tiana Brown revealed that she has a girlfriend. In addition to her boyfriend. Clear your schedule now, because Empire airs at 8/7c on Foxwe need to talk about this show.

Haven’t been watching? Let’s catch you up real quick. Here’s the premise: When successful hip hop mogul Lucious Lyons (Terrence Howard) is diagnosed with ALS, he puts his three sons in competition with each other to determine who will take over as CEO of his entertainment company, Empire Enterprises.

Front: Lucious. Left to Right: Andre, Cookie, Jamal, Hakeem.

The frontrunner is oldest son Andre (Trai Byers), who’s basically all business and has a conniving and power-hungry wife, Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday). Middle son Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is a talented indie singer-songwriter, but he has a live-in boyfriend, Michael (Rafael de la Fuente), and Lucious is super homophobic. Youngest son Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) is allegedly recording his debut hip hop album, but appears to be more interested in partying than anything else. The boys’ tough-as-nails mother, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), has just been released from a 17-year jail sentence, and is (secretly) working as an informant. As one of the only people who knows the truth about how Lucious started the company using drug money, Cookie works out a deal in the first episode to get a $5 million salary along with a spot in Empire’s A&R department. She takes Jamal under her wing, and soon after, also begins to manage Tiana (played by actress Serayah).

From the moment Tiana graces the screen, it’s immediately clear that she’s the hottest act at Empire. When Hakeem runs into her in a rehearsal studio in the second episode, he immediately tries to pick her up by complimenting her act as “bananas” and telling her that there are “a lot of perks that come with being nice to me.” Tiana is not impressed. She tells him to stop ruining her rehearsal and turns him down in no uncertain terms.

Hours later, Hakeem and his crew get drunk in a fancy restaurant and film a viral video in which they call out everyone from Tiana to President Obama (whom Hakeem’s father calls personally to apologize to). Hakeem doesn’t apologize to Tiana, exactly, but during his performance at Laviticus, he works her name into his song lyrics. She’s intrigued. After the show, she meets him in his dressing room and they hook up.

The next time we see Tiana, she’s recording a music video with labelmate Veronica (Veronika Bozeman). Tiana sings about looking for a hot boy so she can be a hot girl, “oh na, na, na.” It’s very  circa 2010.

Lucious pushes Hakeem to continue his relationship with Tiana, and takes her side when a disagreement breaks out over who should be foregrounded in the video. When Veronica’s manager complains with a veiled threat about “needing protection,” Lucious takes him into his trailer, beats him with a metal rod, and fires him.

Later, Tiana joins the family for dinner as Hakeem’s date. It’s uncomfortable but also hilarious when Cookie pointedly stares down Lucious’ new girlfriend, Anika (Grace Gealey), and leads grace by asking God not to withhold blessings even from “hoes that hire skanks to spy on me.” (Yeah, that happened. This show is a little soap opera-y. Okay, more than a little.)

Tiana sits on Hakeem’s lap during a post-dinner musical performance by Jamal. Everything seems to be looking good for them as a couple… until the very next scene, where we see Jamal making out with another chick (Camilla, played by Naomi Campbell) on top of a pool table. It’s revealed that they’ve secretly been seeing each other for over a year.

When Hakeem fails to show up for dinner later that week with just Cookie and Tiana, Tiana goes to his penthouse and walks in on him and Camilla. She walks out without saying a word. Meanwhile, Camilla asks Hakeem why he gave Tiana a key to his apartment when he knew he might be taking romantic bubble baths with another woman. A valid question.

Tiana and Hakeem don’t speak again until the night of their duet at the Teen Choice Awards. Hakeem misses sound check and is confused when Tiana doesn’t seem to care about Hakeem seeing Camilla. “Don’t you dare blow this,” she says. “Let’s get it really tight and bring this house down.” They do.

One week later, “Takeem” is in full force in the public eye. Tiana stands up for Hakeem to a reporter, and they make cute faces at each other on the red carpet. On the ride home, Hakeem asks if Tiana will come over to his house. She declines. He asks if she’s “feeling [him] like that,” presumably referring to their status as a public “it” couple. She says “yeah” with a kiss, and says she’ll see him later. Hakeem’s crew teases him for being in love.

When Tiana gets home, there’s someone already waiting for her: a blonde woman in a neon sports bra.

Tiana takes off her coat, walks across the room, and sits on Mystery Woman’s lap. They make out.

At a photo shoot the next day, Rhonda calls Andre into the studio. He’s mildly annoyed, but she’s insistent. “I would not have pulled you down here unless it was important,” says Rhonda. “God loves us. And he sent us a little gift.” She pulls back the clothing on a hanging clothes rack to reveal Tiana and Mystery Woman, limbs entwined, sharing an intimate moment on a chaise. Rhonda pulls out her phone, telling her husband the recording will serve as fodder for “a meltdown for Hakeem.”

Some unspecified amount of time later, we see Tiana and her background dancers practicing synchronized choreography to Hakeem’s newest song, “Drip Drop.” Tiana asks Cookie’s assistant, Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones), to handle the knuckleheads Hakeem rolls with. Porsha just laughs at her.

Here’s a photo, because they both have really excellent hair in this scene:

When it’s time to film, Tiana meets up with Hakeem on set. He thanks her for agreeing to be in the video. Mid-shoot, Andre steps outside and tells Rhonda to go ahead and spread the footage they took earlier all over the internet. When the story goes live on Perez Hilton, we finally learn Mystery Woman’s name: India (who is, by the way, played by Elizabeth Whitson).

After finding the story, Porsha immediately shows the other assistants. They appear alternately shocked, delighted and concerned.”That is hot as hell,” Porsha exclaims with excitement.

Unsurprisingly, Hakeem is not pleased with this development. He confronts Tiana.

Hakeem: Hey, yo, Tiana, this how we really roll? We supposed to be a team. Whatever you do reflects off me. What the hell is you doing?

Hakeem: India? You my girl. You ain’t supposed to be kissing no damn India chick, and you know that.

Tiana: So, if it was a dude, it would’ve been all right?

Everyone is surprised to learn about Hakeem’s chick on the side, although I’m not entirely sure why, given the boy’s reputation. Tiana scoffs and walks off. Hakeem calls off the video shoot.

Tiana calls Cookie and tells her what happened, referring to India specifically as “my girlfriend.” Overcoming the urge to make incoherent gleeful noises for half an hour (I assume), Cookie takes it all in stride. “All right, look, girl, I don’t judge, but you’s a freak,” she says. “That’s a good thing. We can sell that.”

In response, Tiana makes the only appropriate face one can make in reaction to that remark.

Back at the studio, Andre advises Hakeem, “It is the measure of a man how you come back from these things.” Hakeem replies that he doesn’t want to work with “that girl.”

Across the room, Tiana has zero fucks to give. She’s now accompanied by India, who specializes in looking pensive, sullen and bored.

Lucious comes by to tell his son that he can’t afford to waste precious time, “especially over a thot.” (Because what better way to rally your offspring than by throwing misogynistic slurs, amirite?)

Lucious: Let’s look at it from a mathematical perspective. Your girlfriend has a girlfriend.

Lucious: Two girlfriends. It’s a mathematician’s dream. You… it’s trigonometry.

Umm, I’m not so sure about that. Also, I’m slightly surprised by how seamless his reaction is here, considering that in an earlier flashback, we literally saw Lucious throw his gay son away. As in, he physically picked up little-kid Jamal, stuffed him in a trash can, and slammed the lid down. But biphobia intersected with misogynoir is a different equation to solve than straight up homophobia, I guess.

Regardless, Lucious’ little motivational speech works here, and Hakeem gets back to recording. By the final music montage, it appears that India, Tiana and Hakeem are all on the same page. They’re going to work their triad for all it’s worth as they venture down the road to wealth and fame together. At least in public.

And that’s where we are today. Good Lord. There’s so much to process, I hardly know where to start.

On the one hand, I absolutely love Tiana’s brazen self-sufficiency. She’s not afraid to turn a guy down… and then change her mind and seduce him, just because she can and she wants to. I like that she goes after her desires and doesn’t waste any time being apologetic for it. Her dance moves are mesmerizing, and adding another bi women of color character to broadcast TV is a-okay with me.

On the other hand, the relationship between Tiana and Hakeem strikes me as totally self-serving, on both ends. They’re clearly using each other to get ahead, and the way they (don’t) communicate is highly annoying to me. Bisexuality is often used as a trope to indicate immaturity, deceptiveness, or both, and I worry about the ways in which Tiana fulfills harmful stereotypes. Though to be fair, Hakeem has her beat on both counts, and it’s not fair to ask one bisexual to represent all bisexuals everywhere. It’s also a little early to tell how they’re going to handle her storyline. So.

Left: Young Dro. 2006, real life. Right: Hakeem, 2015, fiction.

It seems realistic to me that the people around Tiana would want to leverage her bisexuality as “hot” and a titillating novelty they can use to further her career. Within the music industry, lady loving ladies have historically been the “holographic Charizard card of urban music.” As once explained,

Hip hop and R&B remain genres fraught with tension when it comes to relations with the LGBTQ community. Between Nicki Minaj’s faux bisexuality and Chris Brown’s what-seems-like-weekly homophobic rants, who would’ve thunk that male artists would be so affirming of the queer lady lifestyle… kind of? In these industries, being a gay male is equated with weakness and failure as it’s the exact opposite of the “I got bitches” mentality that’s so prevalent. …

Using supposedly bisexual women as a pawn in their mastermind scheme shows just how cunning the artist is. In a landscape where sexual prowess is as important as money and power, sending sexy woman folk out to do their bidding has become the ultimate bragging right. These men are only interested in lesbian action as it relates to them. The sexual conquests and flawed versions of bisexuality strangely assert and negate women’s sexual agency simultaneously.

Obviously I’m not in favor of outsiders exploiting queer sexuality looking forward to watching this show dig in to the issue a bit more. For one thing, Tiana has an honest-to-goodness girlfriend; they don’t appear to be setting her up Katy Perry-style to obnoxiously reinforce the idea that women do everything — including having same-sex relationships — for the benefit of men. Tiana was clearly not having it when she heard Cookie’s plan, and I very much doubt she’s going to silently let it happen. Also, Jamal is being positioned as the brother for audiences to root for, right? It just seems like there’s a strong vibe of wanting to do right by LGBQ people on this show.

Perhaps my biggest hope right now is that Tiana will label her sexuality. Nobody ever says the word “bisexual” on TV! Not Emily Fields, not Piper Chapman, not Brittany S. Pierce , and I’m sick of it. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see the outspoken Tiana break the silence? And even if her queerness isn’t something the fictional public can stomach, we know that real life pop music stars (such as Nicki Minaj, Jessie J. and ) sometimes recant on their queerness. That’s sad, but it’s a thing that happens, and we never get to see the other side of it. If it turns out we can’t have out-and-proud for this character, wouldn’t that be an interesting story to explore?

Anyway, that’s hypothetical, and I’m probably getting ahead of myself. What do you think?

Empire’s Tiana Is A Hot Girl, Has A Hot Girl (And Boy!)

‘Empire’s’ Bryshere Gray: “I’m Not Gay”

He must be on his way to stardom because he’s only been on TV for two months and yeEmpire actor has already shut down Internet rumors that he’s gay. He tweeted, “They funny I’m not even gay doe.” He added, “No I’m not gay. I could never be gay, let’s make that clear.”

Gray plays Hakeem, the youngest Lyon brother who’s a spoiled, fame-hungry rapper. Jussie Smollett plays his older brother, Jamal, who happens to be a closeted gay R&B singer.

According to E! Online, Smollett’s role as Jamal, the middle son, has inspired real-life gay kids with their struggles with coming out and acceptance.

“A kid wrote me a letter after the second episode,” Smollett said. “He said that Jamal gave him the courage to come out to his parents.”

He added, “It touched me so deeply because it was only the second episode. So it must mean something to people. It’s just an honor to bring that to life.”

This Week’s Hottest Celebrity Instagrams (2/8-2/13)

Copyright © 2021 Interactive One, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2021 Interactive One, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

‘Empire’s’ Bryshere Gray: “I’m Not Gay”

Is Hakeem From Empire Gay?

Bryshere Y. Gray is not gay. The video at the end of this article shows the actor’s interview with The Breakfast Club. Angela Yee asks him about working with Jussie Smollett and Bryshere explains that he had no problems with it. Gray reveals that he has a cousin and they are very close. Scroll down…… Is Hakeem From Empire Gay?

Is Hakeem From Empire Gay?

Bryshere Y. Gray is not gay. The video at the end of this article shows the actor’s interview with The Breakfast Club. Angela Yee asks him about working with Jussie Smollett and Bryshere explains that he had no problems with it. Gray reveals that he has a cousin and they are very close. Scroll down…… Is Hakeem From Empire Gay?

Is Hakeem From Empire Gay?

Bryshere Y. Gray is not gay. The video at the end of this article shows the actor’s interview with The Breakfast Club. Angela Yee asks him about working with Jussie Smollett and Bryshere explains that he had no problems with it. Gray reveals that he has a cousin and they are very close. Scroll down…… Is Hakeem From Empire Gay?

Bryshere Gray And Jhonni Blaze Dating? Pics Here!

Well this is quite an interesting pairing. Empire’s Bryshere Gray aka Yazz the Greatest and Jhonni Blaze of Love and Hip Hop have been spotted together having quite a good time. Pictures of the two hitting what seems to be a theme park hit the web and has fans going wild. Yazz has a thing…… Bryshere Gray And Jhonni Blaze Dating? Pics Here!

41 Comments

My girlfriend and I literally screamed for a full minute when she walked through the door and sat on her girlfriend’s lap.

So goddamn amazing. I think they’re actually handling it well so far! We’ll see what happens…

(Also: MULTIPLE QUEER CHARACTERS?! OF COLOR?! It’s like this show takes place in an alternate universe where tv actually reflects real life)

I KNOW. I liked it already when it was just Jamal and Michael. But now!!

I had a similar reaction. My girlfriend had only seen one episode with me (the one before this) but immediately guess that it was Tiana getting cozy with another lady. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

I love this show so much, great recap. The way Jamal is treated by his father is gut – wrenching.

Thanks! And yeah. I’m so sad for Jamal, and I hope he wins in the end and his father apologizes. Like, at least.

Loving the show so much so far. However, I’m just way too cautious I’ve been burned before, we all know this pain. It doesn’t help that Ilene Chaiken has her hand in this somehow. o.O I’m just not sure, but I’m going to keep watching anyway, because 1)so far so good 2) music is on point 3) qpoc plots on mainstream television.Strapped in for the ride. Bring it on.

I’m glad you feel that way about the music too! I’ve had that sing they did at the Teen Choice Awards in my head all morning. And it’s not even the best song, I don’t think.

Ilene Chaiken is involved in this? How odd. And concerning.

If they made either one of the ladies identify as queer would that be more or less significant as identifying as bi?

I feel like a lot of younger people use both labels? I do. So personally I’d be happy with either!

Ooh damn, this might make me watch. I was avoiding it becayse, you know, Terrence Howard is an abusive fuck, but I might try this show out.

By the way, why is Emily Fields referred to as bisexual? She self-identifies as a lesbian.

Oh, none of those characters identify as bisexual, as far as I know. It’s more that the writers of those shows never even acknowledge bisexual identity as a possibility. It’s just mysteriously absent from the conversation.

Also, Emily’s narrative had a lot more ups and downs in the books. They erased a lot of that complexity for TV. (Maybe because they thought audiences wouldn’t understand or like a bi or questioning character? Not sure.)

Ah, okay, I thought you were specifying Emily as she is on the TV show. I never read the books, so that’s a fair point in terms of bi-erasure in the TV adaptation.

In the show I think she’s fairly clearly gay, in the books she’s much closer to being bi (although I don’t think she ever clearly identifies either way). I. Marlene King actually tweeted around the first season I believe asking fans if they wanted Emily to be gay or fluid, and the overwhelming response was gay. Which, well, that says something.

Ugh, to me it says that queer media representation shouldn’t be decided via straw polls.

To be fair (and speaking as a bi girl), it’s an open question whether Emily is gay or bi, since the only times we know of her expressing any interest in guys is when she was still in the closet and seemed to be struggling herself with the idea that she was into girls (Toby) and when she was emotionally messed up cos of Maya’s death (Nate). I am annoyed that nobody’s ever said the word though, and if I remember right there were some biphobic tropes tossed around in both instances :/

Might be mistaken but I do recall Callie Torres using the very word itself, bisexual, to identify herself. It stuck out cause yeah no body really says bisexual on TV.

“I dunno, I’m a people person!” was cute and ground breaking for the 90’s but this 2015, step it up tv people.

The Sophia Valentine and this gif… must be dust in this room and some sort of parasite in my thoracic cavity trying to break free.

I love this show so much, seeing Kehinde Wiley’s (a gay Black artist) work on display gives me life, and Cookie too!

YES. Those portraits are amazing. My girlfriend and I saw them in the Brooklyn museum a year or two ago, and we were super pumped to see them on TV now.

Well, I guess I have a new show to start watching. You’ve got me hooked!

I’m bad with faces so I just assumed the blonde girl Tiana was hooking up with was Andre’s wife, Rhonda. I thought that they must be working together to secretly get control of Empire through manipulating Hakeem and Andre. Then, in a burst of utterly wishful thinking, I imagined that the rest of the storyline would be Cookie and Anika (who would have a love/hate thing before they finally get together for real) fighting with Rhonda and Tiana for control of Empire in a queer lady couple war.

My mind goes from 0 to peak dyke drama really quick.

It is still super exciting of course and I love Tiana, but wouldn’t that be the best show???

That’s hilarious. I would watch the hell out of that.

After reading this, watched all five current episodes, became hooked. So good.

I love this show. It’s so entertaining, and covers so many issues. I’m really excited to see where it goes!

As someone who has bipolar stuff, I love the way they’re handling Andre. They’re not presenting him as crazy, just someone who’s managing stuff. He’s making mistakes, but despite that, he is shown to be a smart, successful businessman.

I feel kinda nervous about it? I think because they play that sneaky bad-guy music whenever we see him and Rhonda.

Ahaha, that’s true! They are becoming a bit villainous, manipulating people the way they do, but I liked that they weren’t afraid to go there.

When Andre missed a doctor’s appointment and seemed to not be taking his meds, I thought, “Oh no…here comes another obvious freak out.” There have been a lot of portrayals of bipolar disorder that didn’t click with me, so I was kind of expecting the worst.

But then, the obvious freak out didn’t come. Andre got feedback from his dad and his wife about the way he was acting. It seemed to be implied that he heard them, took his medication, and stopped himself from continuing down a more destructive path. Go Andre!

Plus, he and Rhonda seem to be in an open relationship! Points for non-monogamy!

Ay dios mio! Something just happened to my insides that I cannot begin to explain…geezus!

Why would Emily Fields use the word bisexual? She’s not. She’s a lesbian.

Her previous girlfriend Maya was bisexual, and yes they used the word.

Maybe because she was bisexual in the books? Her tv character is a lesbian though.

well I think hakeem and tiana should be together with each other the good with each other

Be True

At Lyon Dynasty, Tiana is undergoing a photo shoot. Cookie is struggling to remove text alerts from her phone which Porsha enabled, and tells Tiana that she fired Porsha since Porsha got her arrested. The pair view Lucious‘ video as Hakeem walks in with Laura. Hakeem tells Tiana to show Laura to the studio and kisses Tiana on the cheek before he walks away. Laura sees this and asks Tiana if they’re together, but Tiana tells her that Hakeem is like that with all the girls.

Later at Lyon Dynasty, Laura, Carmen and Marisol are dancing to Pharrell’s music. Hakeem hugs Laura from behind and kisses her on her lower neck, asking her if she feels him. Laura, disgusted, leaves, telling Hakeem that she’s not like other girls, and that she should have known better.

Andre and Hakeem go over to Jamal’s apartment, where Hakeem is surprised that he wasn’t invited to Jamal’s party, evidenced by wine glasses and Becky being knocked out on the sofa. Andre confesses to his brothers that he arranged for Hakeem’s goons to rob Jamal and pinned it on Hakeem (back in „Dangerous Bonds“). Jamal is hurt that his brother would go that far, and Hakeem is aghast since Jamal almost died that day. Andre simply states that he was sick then and he was sorry, and he is forgiven by both Jamal and Hakeem. He invites the two to his baptism, to which Hakeem states he’ll come, but Jamal is wary due to the fact that he may be told to „pray away the gay“. Andre tells Jamal that even if the church is against homosexuality, he is not, and asks Jamal to come to support him, and not the church.

Meanwhile, as Laura is walking in order to catch a train home, Hakeem pulls up next to her. He apologizes, adding that he’s never met a girl singer who wasn’t down with him. Laura tells him that she doesn’t care about the money or the fame, and that all she wants to do is sing and make people happy. Hakeem tells her that his driver will bring her home and that he’ll catch a cab, but not before telling her that he won’t ever overstep his bounds, and that he respects her.

Later as Andre is successfully baptized, Cookie holds Jamal’s hands, which Hakeem notices. Hakeem then goes on a run around the park topless. However, he is then kidnapped and dragged into a van.

More Stories by VIBE

Real-life rap star Bryshere Gray may play a young-un about the booze and babes on Fox’s new hip-hop drama Empire but the 21-year-old Philadelphia native already has performing at Budweiser’s 2013 “Made In America” festival and opening for 2 Chainz and Fabolous under his belt.

The rapper/actor, better known as Yazz The Greatest, makes his small-screen debut as Hakeem Lyon, the youngest of Lucius Lyon (played by Terrence Howard) and Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) three sons, vying for the Empire throne. But Gray is far from the bratty, budding spitter he portrays on TV. To get to his primetime slot, he’s gone through some adversity. “I grew up in West Philly with a single mother, working three jobs trying to provide for me and my sister,” he tells VIBE, “And not having money and trying to be this artist… it was hard. I just kept at it and it got me here.“

Get familiar with Bryshere Gray in the full Q&A below.—Richy Rosario

VIBE: Congratulations on your first acting role. How does it feel now that the show has premiered?Bryshere Gray: It’s a great opportunity. This is my first acting gig, and I get to work with Lee Daniels, Taraji P. Henson, and Terrence Howard, [all] Oscar nominees and I’m blessed to be in this situation.

How did you score this role?I was doing my thing. I was living in Philadelphia and rapping. I was doing a lot of shows all over my city and performing out on the street. I just wanted people to hear me. I was just so eager and ambitious. If I wrote a song that night, I was going to perform it to the world and that’s what I did. So I met my manager, Charlie Mack, who is like Will Smith’s best friend, and he gave me the audition. I did a video audition for Lee Daniels and he loved it and sent me to L.A. I auditioned [there] with Taraji and Terrence, cause they were doing their auditions for Lee, too. We got to do it together.

What was that like? (Laughs) Well, when I walked in he was like ‘, we’re ready for you in the room.’ I’m expecting to just walk in to the director, Danny Strong, and a camera [but] I see Terrence and Taraji. I was kind of blown away because they’re like gods where I’m from. They’re so respected. So it was cool I kept it together. I did my audition scene with Terrence and he loved it, and it was a rap.

What have you learned so far from Taraji and Terrence? I learned how to treat a woman from Taraji. She teaches me things on life experiences, cooks for me, Jussie and Gaby—we hang out outside of set and it’s like a real family. Terrence, on the other hand, is like a big brother. We had Christmas at his house. It was good to just really connect and get a different relationship other than Lucius and Hakeem. We call each other on the phone as we’re leaving the set. We’re just getting out of work and we’re writing songs on the phone in our vans going home. That’s how we are.

It seems like Hakeem and Jamal have a close relationship. How does that play out on the show being that you guys are competing for the top spot at Empire?Hakeem and Jamal’s relationship is very dynamic. Hakeem knows Jamal is gay; he accepts it because he loves his brother so much. Hakeem didn’t have nobody growing up but Jamal so he looks up to Jamal. Jamal is the person that Hakeem tells every secret to. Their relationship is very close. Hakeem knows he needs Jamal at the end of the day because together, they’re a crazy duo.

How do you relate to Hakeem?I see similarities music-wise. I don’t get to write the music on the show, Timbaland writes the music so that’s a non-similarity because I write my own music, but to have Timbaland write is an honor. There’s really no other similarity because Hakeem is so disrespectful, ruthless and spoiled. I’m the complete opposite. I’m a sweetheart.

Speak on the relationship Lucious has with Hakeem?Hakeem is Lucious’ favorite son. He has a lot of Lucious in him because he learned from his dad to treat people bad, seeing him deal with other girls so Hakeem doesn’t really know how to respect females. He really is a product of his habitat. But Lucious keeps blaming Hakeem when really, he needs to get himself together so Hakeem has a good role model. Hakeem doesn’t have the ambition and doesn’t want to work as hard to get to where he wants to be.

It seems like Hakeem has major mommy issues because Cookie wasn’t yeah, it stems from the fact that Lucious didn’t let Hakeem see his mother [while she was] in jail for 17 years. Jamal was old enough to go see her after school. Hakeem stayed with a nanny and stuff like that so when Cookie came back home to visit, of course, Hakeem was very disrespectful and very hurt. When you hurt sometimes, you do things you don’t mean.

Let’s go back to your music career. How did you start rapping?Well, I started rapping when I was 16. I was working at Pizza Hut. (Laughs) I was just tired. I was like ‘Is this life?’ I just graduated and I started rhyming and really fell in love with it. When I did my first performance, I was like ‘This is what I really want to do.’ People loved what I did on stage. I used my first Pizza Hut check to pay for my music video and I promoted it everywhere on Facebook at crazy hours. (Laughs) I was writing raps at my job and I got fired. After I got fired, I just really committed to it.

How has your rapping skills helped you with doing the show? It helps a lot with the character, it gives a different bravado.

What’s the creative process like, making music with Jussie? It seems like you guys have great chemistry on the really have a brotherly relationship. When we was in Miami, that was our first time really connecting. I lost my ID and you know they’re not letting you go past the airport if you ain’t got no ID now. So I’m lost now, [thinking] ‘We have to do a table read for the next episode. I have to be in Chicago. I’m going to miss my flight.’ And Jussie stayed the whole time. He could’ve left and went to his table read. but he stayed with me and made sure I was cool. We got on the flight and got there a little late but we got there. That’s when I was like, ‘Man, that’s my brother right here.’

Is it a full-circle moment for you being from Philadelphia and having Empire set there?It is a full-circle moment. To have Philly embrace me, it’s great because there is a lot of talent in my city that’s hidden so it’s great for me to represent my city.