*Bryshere Gray may be part of a hit TV show (“Empire”), but that hasn’t prevented him from taking to heart advice he’s gotten from one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
In an interview with People, Gray, a native of Philadelphia, relayed the words of encouragement he received from his fellow Philly representative, Will Smith, which provided the motivation he needed to pursue his dreams of conquering Tinseltown.
“[He tells me] to stay strong, keep the realness, stay truthful to your character, stay truthful to yourself, and keep your family around you,” Gray recently told People. “Keep God first.”
Smith’s advice is paying off big time for Gray, who is making his mark on the small screen on “Empire” as Hakeem Lyon, the son of Terrence Howard’s Lucious Lyon. When it comes to influences, Gray cites the former “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star as the biggest one he has.
“He excelled in music and acting and modeling at such a young age,” the 22-year-old actor says. “I think I can do that too.”
Although “Empire” has given him newfound fame, Gray is quick to credit his mother, grandmother and manager with helping him stay grounded, according to Rolling Out.
“They keep me focused and centered,” he says. “They remind me of where I came from, because I know sometimes, people can forget where they come from. It’s all about remembering your stepping stones. It’ll add to you.”
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As if with anyone on the road to success, roadblocks exist. For Gray, who also goes by his real-life rap moniker, Yazz the Greatest, that meant being more driven to put his talent on display to get to where he needs to be.
“If you’re having trouble with getting to where you need to get to … you’ve got to just stay on it, don’t be discouraged,” says Gray, who grew up in a one-parent home. “I mean, sometimes I felt discouraged but I woke up the next day and I said, ‘I’m going to keep going.’ If I didn’t have a show, I would make a show. I’ll go out in public and perform. You just gotta do it! Don’t ask for handouts. Go get it!”
Up next for Gray is more noteworthy work in the form of an appearance in new untitled biopic in 2017. According to Rolling Out, there are no details regarding the project at this time.