You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

breaking news

2 Atlanta streets closed, Homeland Security called to mercury investigation

Actress discusses working at Atlanta barber shop and her ‘Empire’ role


You may know Bre-Z as Freda Gatz, the rapper with the good heart and troubled life on FOX’s musical soap opera “Empire.”

Gatz’s familial ties are at the center of her dramatic story line on “Empire” and, in real life Bre-Z’s family is an important part of her life, too. On Thanksgiving, she’ll be in Atlanta celebrating the holiday with them.

Bre-Z moved to Atlanta after her mom relocated for work in 2007. And, much like Gatz, she spent her time writing rhymes in the studio and cutting hair in a barbershop.

The actress worked at at Pro Cuts Atl on MLK Drive, recording in a nearby studio in between cutting the hair of clients such as Ludacris, Akon and DJ Drama.

“It ultimately helped me build a lot of the great relationships that I still have today,” she said.

The rapper eventually moved to Los Angeles and, with no prior acting experience, landed the role of Freda Gatz on Fox’s hit drama “Empire.”

We spoke with the actress recently about her time in Atlanta and her role on “Empire.” Here’s what she had to say.

On if she thinks Jamal and Freda Gatz will be able to maintain their friendship

“I think they will and I think for him to actually side with her and help with her getting out of prison said a lot because he was a victim as much as she was. It’s not often that you can shoot somebody and they help you get out of jail.”

On Freda Gatz being a barber, too

“That was a coincidence. I don’t think they knew [I was a barber] or at least it wasn’t planned. Even when I read the script I was like, ‘wow this is funny.’”

On deciding to audition for “Empire”

“Once I read the character description it honestly just sounded like myself a few years prior. Because that particular role entailed so much music it was easier to make the decision. Opportunities like that don’t come every day.”

On talking to fans via social media (and keeping her DMs open)

“I know that, as someone who was just living a regular life, a lot of these celebrities appear to be untouchable. I’m still a real person.”

On the impact of “Empire”

“I love the pace of the show. I love how our writers continue to tap into real life situations. I just want to keep seeing them help push the culture forward and continue to inspire our youth. You never know what different shows and story lines do for people.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Former minor leaguer’s art has major league home at SunTrust Park
Former minor leaguer’s art has major league home at SunTrust Park

Richard Sullivan was one of those rare children growing up who took an interest and excelled in both athletics and the arts. Now, after going pro in both disciplines, he’s landed a permanent place in the new Atlanta Braves stadium. Sixteen of Sullivan’s paintings feature inSunTrust Park as part of a 300-piece installation on display throughout...
5 must-see bands at the Atlanta Mess-Around
5 must-see bands at the Atlanta Mess-Around

The ninth annual Atlanta Mess-Around will fill the stages at The Earl and 529 on April 28 and 29. The punk-rock fest is an East Atlanta institution, upholding the neighborhood's tradition of music from local underdogs, community and a little punk rock rowdiness. Tickets are $10 for day shows at 529 and $25 for night shows at The...
Atlanta faith calendar
Atlanta faith calendar

Fish fry: To celebrate the Lenten season, a fish fry featuring fried and baked fish, fried shrimp, grilled salmon, crabcakes plus a variety of sides will be available from 5:30-8 p.m. March 31 and April 7 at the auditorium of St. Lawrence Catholic Church. The meal will be $8-$11 for adults and $4-$6 for children 5-12 years old. Seniors will receive...
Life with Gracie: What’s it like being a #blackwomanatwork?
Life with Gracie: What’s it like being a #blackwomanatwork?

Oh, the stories I could tell. There are so many I hardly know where to start, but any old place would do. Mississippi where I grew up, Texas where I first fell in love with column writing or here in Georgia where I’d longed to be since graduating from college. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Each have borne in me both goodness and pain...
Dave Chappelle says he was wrong to hold out hope for Donald Trump at Austin City Limits show
Dave Chappelle says he was wrong to hold out hope for Donald Trump at Austin City Limits show

More Stories