*Members of the Philadelphia Drag Mafia complain 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, and after his performance, he agreed to take photos with fans. But when the Philadelphia Drag Mafia got in line for their photo-op, the queens were told to change out of their dresses and into something more manly.
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According to Walk Against Hate board member Ian Morrison, 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 said 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 IG photos of the shirtless rapper in his dressing room. Gray has vigorously denied being a homosexual, and when pressed about his sexuality in a radio interview last year, he said, “I’m the most heterosexual man you’ll meet in your life.”
In April, 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 set to debut in 2017. Gray signed on to portray founding member, Michael Bivins.