Yazz is the stage name of Bryshere Yazuan Gray, also known as Yazz The Greatest 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.
Yazz was born on November 28, 1993 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is 25 years old as of November 2018.
Yazz is dating former Love & Hip Hop star Jhonni Blaze.
Yazz played football at Overbrook High School, but he switched to music after getting injured when he was 16 years old. He started using 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.
Since 2013, Yazz 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. He has also been the opening act for rappers such as Fabolous and 2 Chainz.
In 2015, Yazz started 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. In March 2015, it was confirmed that both Smollett and Gray had been signed on with Columbia Records as solo acts.
In April 2016, he was cast along with Elijah Kelley, Luke James, Algee Smith, Keith Powers and Woody McClain in the BET miniseries about R&B boy band, New Edition which premiered in January 2017.
Yazz signed on to portray co-founding member, Michael Bivins. April 2018 he co star with Teyana Taylor in Honey: Rise up and Dance as Tyrell.
Yazz Movies and TV Shows
Celebrity Name Game
Guest Celebrity as Himself
The New Edition Story
Honey: Rise Up and Dance
- The Only Way Is Up
- Good People
- What the DJ Says
- Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1 · 2015
- Big Shoes Remix
- Love Me
- Stand Up for Your Love Rights
- Ain’t About the Money
- The Big 20
- Fine Time
- She A Monster
- Light It All Up
- Shut Up
- That’s Just the Way That It Is 1994
- It’s Your Birthday
- Where They At
- Rock The Party
- Good Thing Going
- Where Has All the Love Gone
- Have Mercy
- Never Can Say Goodbye
- Treat Me Good
- One More Minute
- How Ya Luv That
- No Competition
- Empire: Original Soundtrack Season 2 Volume 2 · 2016
- How Long
- One True Woman
- Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
Yazz Canal Street
A Chicago lawyer embraces his undying faith when his teenage son is accused of murdering a classmate.
Yazz Empire (Hakeem Lyon)
Hakeem Lyon is a fictional character from the original FOX musical drama Empire played by Bryshere Y. Gray. Hakeem, one of the main characters within the series, is the youngest and once-favorite son of hip-hop mogul Lucious (Terrence Howard) and his wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson). Hakeem has the star quality to become a superstar like his father, but lacks the discipline and guidance because of his strained relationship with Cookie.
Yazz Net Worth
Yazz current net worth is estimated to around 2 million U.S dollars.
- BET Awards
2018: Best Actor: Empire
- NAACP Image Awards
2016: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Empire
2016: Outstanding New Artist
- Teen Choice Awards
2015: Choice TV: Breakout Star: Empire
2015: Choice TV: Chemistry: Empire
2015: Choice Music: Song From a Movie or TV Show: “You’re So Beautiful” with Jussie Smollett
Does Hakeem’s musical style mirror your own?
Well, Hakeem’s music is written by Timbaland. I don’t get to write Hakeem’s music. With Yazz, I write every single thing. But both artists are great. I’m playing with the best right now — why not learn from Timbaland?
Do you just go into the studio with Timbaland and he has a bunch of beats lying around? How does it work?
I go into the studio with Team Timbaland. I’ll be on set, I’ll be filming for 14 or 16 hours, and I’ll get a text to go to a studio down the street and start recording.
So you’re working the hours of both an actor and a musician.
Yeah, I’m doing two things at one time. And I’m also getting trained by a great acting coach, so that’s on top of everything that’s going on. Acting, rapping, trying to stay healthy. That all ties in.
What has been challenging for you about acting?
Just being honest. Because you’ve got to do things that you’re not comfortable with; you’ve got to make private situations real life. I learned from Will Smith and Jamie Foxx; they told me, “When you feel like you need privacy or you feel like you’re embarrassed doing something, that’s when you’re doing perfect.”
How did you wind up meeting them?
My manager, Charlie Mack, is close friends with both guys. I grew up off Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Jamie Foxx Show. So when I actually got to meet those guys …
How did you get hooked up with Charlie?
I was doing a showcase in Philly. I was doing a lot of local shows; I was even performing on the street, because I was so eager and ambitious about letting people hear my music. So I was out there and I ran into Charlie. We had a meeting. From there, it’s been nothing but success.
Clearly you’re nothing like Hakeem in real life.
Total opposite. That kid is reckless. He has no guidance, you know? Being Hakeem is challenging.
People like him are so annoying, because they’ve never had to work for anything.
Yeah. And I’m totally different. I come from West Philadelphia. Raised by a single mom. Not having a dad in my life. Trying to provide for my sister. So I came from not having anything to being on TV.
How is your family reacting to that?
My family is my main support. I go home and I just get so much good energy from them. Because when you’re working so many hours and you’re meeting so many new people, you’ve gotta go back home, stay who you are before all the fame came.
Who are you modeling Hakeem after?
I created Hakeem to be a spoiled, young kid — like the kids that are out there who are not respecting their parents, not grateful for the things they have. That’s what you see in Hakeem. He’s a great musician, but he has a lot of flaws. He doesn’t want to grind as hard for the things he really wants. He wants to be a boss so bad; he wants to be Jay Z and Kanye, but he doesn’t want to work as hard for it. So that’s his main flaw.