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Trai Byers, Jussie Smollett, and Bryshere “Yazz” Gray, who all star on FOX’s runaway hit Empire each landed separate covers of ESSENCE’s Magazine for the month of June in addition to their smoking hot group pic. Pick out your favorite cover inside and find out what the guys revealed to readers inside…

After a season one finale that left 16.7 million viewers spellbound, it’s only natural that the men who play the Lyon brothers—Trai Byers (Andre), Jussie Smollett (Jamal) and Bryshere “Yazz” Gray (Hakeem) would land the cover of ESSENCE Magazine’s HOTTEST month.

In addition to the group shot above, each actor landed his own cover for ESSENCE’s June “Vacation Issue” hits newsstands on Friday, 5/15. Inside the magazine, the “Lyon Kings” dished on a variety of topics including how they broke into the business, their hobbies and special interests and the runaway success of the show. Also, Jussie talked openly about the doors his character has broken through for the LGBT community.

“If I can help someone else feel less alone, no matter what they’re going through, I’m happy to have that opportunity…”—Jussie Smollett, ESSENCE

Here are the highlights:

Jussie Smollet, 32, on getting Lee Lee Daniels attention: “I jumped on Instagram and direct-messaged Lee and said, ‘Sir, I know you get this all the time, but I’m a singer, actor, dancer, songwriter and musician. I am Jamal Lyon in more ways than one.'”

Bryshere “Yazz” Gray, 21, on youth mentoring: “I would hear things like, ‘My dad was never in my life…’ and my response was, ‘My dad was never in my life…Don’t feel like you don’t matter.'”

Trai Byers, 33, on working out prepping for Mrs. Right: “I work out for two reasons: one, because I’m an actor and two, because I’m somebody’s [future] husband. I want to be prepared for the woman God has for me.” Swoon!

Check out the individual covers here:


Yazz and Jussie performed “You’re So Beautiful” on GMA this morning. Check it out!


1. EMPIRE signs Chris Rock, pop star Alicia Keys and singer/actor Lenny Kravitz for guest roles in Season two. Story.

Photos via ESSENCE

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