Fact Check

Did DNA Confirm Hakeem from 'Empire' Is Jay-Z's Biological Son?

Reports that a DNA test confirmed actor Bryshere Y. Gray, who plays Hakeem Lyon on the TV series 'Empire,' is the son of rap mogul Jay-Z are fake news.

Published Sep 22, 2015

A DNA test confirmed that actor Bryshere Y. Gray is the biological son of rap mogu Jay-Z.

On 19 September 2015, the web site Celebtricity published an article reporting that actor Bryshere Y. Gray, who plays Hakeem Lyon on the show Empire, was the biological son of rap mogul Jay-Z:

DNA analysis has been released revealing that Bryshere Y. Gray also known as Yass the Greatest who plays Hakeem Lyon on the hit show Empire is actually the biological son of rap mogul Jay-Z. This doesn't come as too much of a shock as the rapper's dalliances are well accounted for, but it does ask the question of whether or not Bryshere will inherit “The Rock” from his estranged father.

Jay-Z proudly confirmed that he is in fact his father in an interview by saying:

"Yea that's Blue Ivy's big brother can't you tell that's my genes that gave him his skills. I'm proud of my son I might sign him to Roc Nation if it makes sense."

Byshere’s mother “Donut” Shannon Bryshere was one of Jay-Z’s “ghetto flowers” back in the day when he was selling drugs to help support his musical career. The two distanced themselves from one another after Donut took the fall for a drug charge to keep Jay-Z from going to prison.

Celebriticity bills itself as the "most notorious entertainment website in the world" which uses a combination of "real & satire news" to create the "most shocking headlines." In this case, the real portion of the above-quoted story is that both Jay-Z and Bryshere Y. Gray do in fact exist. The "satire" (i.e., fake) portion of the article is everything else.

There was no DNA test, Jay-Z never said that Hakeem was his real son, and the story about Jay-Z's having a fling with a woman named "Donut" is apocryphal. Although this rumor was picked up by several other disreputable web sites, news about Jay-Z's alleged son was not reported by any credible news outlet.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.