Discrimination? An Empire Cast Member Is Getting Epic Backlash From Drag Queens

EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Gabourey Sidibe, Ta'Rhonda Jones, Jussie Smollet, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Trai Byers, Kaitlin Doubleday, Grace Gealey and Serayah McNeil on EMPIRE. The spring premiere episode of EMPIRE airs Wednesday, March 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. (Photo: James Dimmock/FOX)

Discrimination? An Empire Cast Member Is Getting Epic Backlash From Drag Queens

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Published May 23, 2016

Not cool.

Empire has been a groundbreaking show in terms of boldly and honestly exploring LGBT issues on the screen, and, indeed, the show has a strong contingency of LGBT fans. But those fans — and many people, in general — aren't going to be happy when they hear what the show's star Bryshere Grey, aka Yazz the Greatest, was up to in Philadelphia this past weekend.

(Photo: David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Yazz performed at the Anti-Defamation League’s Walk Against Hate at the Navy Yard in Philly, and a popular local collective of drag queens called the Philly Drag Mafia opened up for him. Following the show, the Philly drag queens say they were scheduled for a photo opp with Yazz. Though the actor stayed to snapp photos with many of the attendees, the drag queens weren’t allowed to take photos with him.

PhillyMag.com reports that Walk Against Hate board member Ian Morrison, better known by his drag name Brittany Lynn, says event organizers — including walk chairman Brandon Morrison (no relation) — pulled him aside and apologized.

“They explained that Yazz’s ‘handlers’ said that he wouldn’t take photos with us in drag,” says Ian, adding that they were told that they had to changed out of their drag costumes and into street clothes in order to cop a photo with Grey.

“The photo op was a real incentive for us to do the event in the first place,” says drag queen Roxy Boom. “He’s on Empire, and a lot of us girls were really excited. And then we were told it wasn’t going to happen. I find it very odd. Why wouldn’t you want to take a picture with us? Well, we know why, but … It was a low blow for all of us.”

Though a source close to Yazz speculates that it was the actor's team, not Yazz himself, who rejected the drag queens, it's no secret that the young star has been touchy on the subject of LGBT issues for a while now. When Empire first debuted, questions about Yazz's sexual identity were rampant — to the point where the actor found it necessary to declare on Ebro In the Morning, “I’m the most heterosexual man you’ll meet in your life”

So, is Yazz still feeling insecure about his heterosexuality or is this all a big misunderstanding? You be the judge.

Catch up on the latest rumors about Yazz's co-star Jussie Smollett leaving the series with BET Breaks, above.

Written by Evelyn Diaz

(Photo: James Dimmock/FOX)


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