Fox TV's hit show Empire takes pride in the inclusiveness and diversity of its cast. But not all cast members are comfortable associating with the gays off the set.
Members of the Philadelphia Drag Mafia complain bitterly that they were blocked from taking pictures with Empire star Bryshere Y. Gray, aka Yazz the Greatest, at the Anti-Defamation League’s Walk Against Hate at the Navy Yard on Sunday.
Gray was one of the scheduled performers at the Walk Against Hate event.
After his performance, Gray agreed to take photos with fans. But problems cropped up when the Philadelphia Drag Mafia got in line and were told to change out of their dresses and into something more manly.
According to Walk Against Hate board member Ian Morrison, who uses the drag nom de guerre Brittany Lynn, event organizers took him aside and apologized.
“They explained that Yazz’s ‘handlers’ said that he wouldn’t take photos with us in drag,” Ian told Philly Mag. He added that they were told they could take photos with Gray "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. “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.”
Gray has battled gay rumors ever since openly gay director Lee Daniels posted Instagram.com photos of the shirtless rapper in his dressing room.
In a tweet to a blogger last year, Gray vigorously denied being a homosexual.
And when pressed for a definitive answer in a radio interview, he said, “I’m the most heterosexual man you’ll meet in your life."