Empire nabbed multiple nominations for GLAAD Media Awards this year, but one of the stars doesn’t seem to be playing nice with the LGBT community. More specifically, the actor managed to disrespect drag queens at an LGBT pride event.
Bryshere Y. Grey, also known as Yazz the Greatest, who plays Hakeem Lyon on the hit FOX series, was invited to perform at the Anti-Defamation League’s Walk Against Hate in Philadelphia over the weekend, and a local collective called the Philly Drag Mafia opened up for the actor/rapper. The performance brought down the house, but things went south after the show, when Yazz refused to pose for pictures with the drag stars.
According to Walk Against Hate board member Ian Morrison, better known by his drag name Brittany Lynn, Yazz made time to snap selfies with plenty of audience members, pulled pulled a Kanye when it came to doing a photo op with the Drag Mafia.
“They explained that Yazz’s ‘handlers’ said that he wouldn’t take photos with us in drag,” Ian tells PhillyMag.com, adding that they were told that a photo would only be possible if they changed out of their drag costumes and into street clothes. “The photo op was a real incentive for us to do the event in the first place,” says drag queen Roxy Boom, who also participated in the event. “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.”
Not a good look, Yazz, especially since Empire can use all the support it can get right now after record low ratings this past season. But the shade is not exactly surprising, either, if you consider Yazz’s history: back when Empire first started, rumors of the actor’s sexuality started floating around the internet (a sure sign that you’re about to hit it big, right?), and he wasted no time shutting them down.
“No I’m not gay. I could never be gay, let’s make that clear,” he tweeted at the time. Though his publicist claims someone hacked his account, he essentially reiterated the same thing on Ebro in the Morning. “I’m the most heterosexual man you’ll meet in your life,” he said.
You know the more you have to say it, the less people believe you, right?
Back to the Philly drama: Yazz’s people said that he had nothing to do with turning down the Drag Mafia and that his bodyguards were the ones to shut down the photo op. But the instructions to change into street clothes sound like they would be above the pay grade of his hired muscle. Just sayin’.