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Bryshere Y. Gray On Changing Directions: ‘I Wouldn’t Choose Any More Music Roles’

Paul Archuleta, Getty Images
Paul Archuleta, Getty Images

Bryshere Y. Gray has become one of television’s most visible young stars. Since 2015, Gray has starred as rapper Hakeem Lyon on the hit FOX drama, Empire. In his latest project, he’s starring in the highly-anticipated BET mini-series The New Edition Story, as business-minded New Edition member, Michael Bivins.

But even with so much early success playing characters who are tied to music, Gray says The New Edition Story could be his last music-related acting gig.

“Hakeem is such a big part of what I do,” Gray tells The Boombox. “[But] I wouldn’t choose any more music roles–unless it was LL Cool J.”

The Philadelphia native explained that he thinks that LL Cool J’s story is biopic-worthy–and he would jump at the chance to portray James Todd Smith onscreen.

“I was actually just talking to Jesse Collins–who funded [The New Edition Story]–and I was saying ‘What about me playing LL Cool J in a biopic?'” Gray says. “You know, I would make that my last–I promise to the world–that would be my last music role. But I feel like LL Cool J is a story that needs to be told–like come on, now.”

But going forward, the rapper/actor would like for his next roles to be action-packed or more straightforward character-driven dramas.

“It would be something like a Bad Boys, or something like a Mission: Impossible,” he shares. “Or Pursuit of Happyness. I’m actually working on this film [now] so maybe we’ll be able to create that aura of what I want.”

Gray commands a lot of attention as Bivins in The New Edition Story. Starring in such an ensemble project, it’s not always easy to stand out from your co-stars. But standing out has never been a problem for Bryshere Gray. And he’s just getting started. His most recent project paired him with one of his hometown’s heroes.

“I just got done with a movie, it’s called Sprinter,” says Gray. “It’s a Will [Smith] and Jada [Pinkett Smith] film. I play an Olympic track runner for the USA. Just like the Jesse Owens story, so I just got done with that.

“And of course Empire just got picked up for season four.”

Watch Gray in The New Edition Story, airing this week (Jan. 24 – 26) on BET, 9pm EST.

NEXT: ‘The New Edition Story’ Stars On Becoming N.E., Brotherhood, and Bobby Brown

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