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Bryshere Yazuan Gray (born November 28, 1993),[1][2] also known by the stage name Yazz The Greatest or simply Yazz,[3] is an American actor and rapper, best known for his role as Hakeem Lyon in the Fox primetime musical drama television series Empire. He is also known for his portrayal as Michael Bivins in the 2017 BET miniseries The New Edition Story.

Bryshere Y. Gray
Bryshere Y. Gray (26362135321).jpg
Gray at 2016 PaleyFest
Born Bryshere Yazuan Gray
(1993-11-28) November 28, 1993 (age 24)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Nationality American
Other names
  • Yazz
  • Yazz the Greatest
  • Actor
  • Rapper
Known for


Early lifeEdit

Gray was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. His family moved to West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania due to his parents’ divorce.[2] Gray played football at Overbrook High School, but he switched to music after getting injured when he was 16 years old. He began to use his talent as a street performer to earn money and help his single mother afford their living expenses. His efforts eventually led to a partnership with manager Charlie Mack.


Gray at the BET 15th annual awards

Since 2013, Gray has performed at a variety of music festivals in the Philadelphia area, including Jay Z’s Made in America Festival, The Roots' Picnic Festival, and Power 99FM's Powerhouse concert.[4] He also has been the opening act for rappers such as Fabolous and 2 Chainz.[5] In 2015, Gray began his first acting role as Hakeem Lyon on the Fox drama TV series Empire, with co-stars Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, and Jussie Smollett.[6] In March 2015, it was confirmed that both Smollett and Gray had been signed on with Columbia Records as solo acts.[7] In April 2016, Gray was cast alongside Elijah Kelley, Luke James, Algee Smith, Keith Powers and Woody McClain in the BET miniseries about R&B boy band, New Edition which debuted in January 2017. Gray signed on to portray co-founding member, Michael Bivins.[8] April 2018 Gray co star with Teyana Taylor in Honey: Rise up and Dance as Tyrell.


Year Title Role Notes
2015–present Empire Hakeem Lyon Main cast
2016 Celebrity Name Game Guest Celebrity as Himself
2017 The New Edition Story Michael Bivins Miniseries about R&B boy band New Edition
2018 Honey: Rise Up and Dance Tyrell Direct to video
The Bobby Brown Story Michael Bivins TBA
Canal Street Kholi Styles Post-Production



Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"No Apologies"
(featuring Jussie Smollett)
2015 123 44 Empire Season 1 OST
"Drip Drop"
(featuring Serayah)
114 37
"You're So Beautiful"
(Jussie Smollett featuring Yazz)
47 18 10
"Chasing the Sky"
(Terrence Howard featuring Jussie Smollett and Yazz)
2016 24 Empire Season 2 Volume 2
"Good People"
(Jussie Smollett featuring Yazz)

Awards and nominationsEdit

BET AwardsEdit

NAACP Image AwardsEdit

Teen Choice AwardsEdit


External linksEdit