By Chris Law
It was an unseasonably warm day in December when I first met Trai Byers. Much to my surprise, he arrived on time (read: ten minutes early) and without an entourage wearing a slim-fit knit shirt, jeans and silver-toned sunglasses.
We come to the seating area and I ask him if he has a preference.
“Oh I don’t care man, I’m from Kansas City man, I’d sit on the floor,” he offers.
Trai’s humility is impressive. He’s gracious and honest. He shares his day plans with me as if we’re homies. Beyond shooting our cover today, he and his fiancée co-star Grace Geasley (who he describes as a woman of God, integrity and beauty) to check out his former co-star Jennifer Hudson in the Broadway production of Color Purple and fellow thespian Leslie Odom in the hit Hamilton.
In a world full of shortcuts and social media, Trai’s journey to success was a little more traditional. After years of schooling and extra work in films like Remember The Titans and Boycott, he scored some important roles on the TV show 90210 and in the movie Selma before landing the role of Andre in Empire. Despite a significant drop in ratings from season 1, Empire still rules Wednesday night with over 11 million viewers. Such an amount of success could leave him with a big head and an even bigger ego.
Thankfully, that’s not his style.
As our talk continues, conversation about where he’s from prompts him to ask me where I’m from. I tell him that I’m from outside of Hartford, Connecticut in a town called Bloomfield.
“It’s a small town,” I explain. “The only person famous from there is…”
“You” Trai offers.
Humble and humorous. We sat down with Trai to find out all about his journey, his thoughts on Empire this season and the hard journey of playing Andre.