By NAN ET Editor
News Americas, Los Angeles, CA, Fri. June 9, 2017: It’s officially Caribbean American Heritage Month – a time to celebrate the many Caribbean and Caribbean roots individuals making a difference across the country. Did you know there is a Caribbean-roots actress on the Fox hit music-industry prime time drama, the Empire? Here are 10 things you should know about this Caribbean-American:
1: She is Grace Gealey Byers, or you may know her as the smart and sexy music executive, Anika Calhoun, on the hit drama, where she stars opposite Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.
2: The 32-year-old grew up in the Cayman Islands and considers herself both an American and a Caymanian.
3: The talented actress recently visited the Cayman Islands and posted all about it on Instagram and Facebook. “What an awe-inspiring (quick!) trip back home to the Cayman Islands,” she wrote on Facebook and Instagram on May 28, 2017. …. Thank you again for leaving my heart so full, Cayman.”
4: She grew up the daughter of two non-hearing parents in the Cayman Islands. Her father is Euro-American father and mother is Afro-Caribbean. Her father was born with a hearing loss and her mother lost her hearing when she was 2, after battling pneumonia. Gealey Byers says she learned how to communicate with sign language before she learned to talk.
5: Gealey Byers is now using her new fame to advocate for the deaf community. She recently told The Doctors that the biggest misconception about non-hearing people is “people think that because someone is deaf, that they are unintelligent.”
6: She has a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from the University of South Florida in Tampa and a Master’s of Fine Arts in acting from the University of California, Irvine.
7: Gealey Byers has performed Off-Broadway, including in Venus Flytrap: A Femme Noir Mystery, and Rent and in the Chicago productions of The Misanthrope and Tartuffe.
8: She recently shot the indie thriller “Bent,” opposite, Karl Urban, Sofia Vergara and Andy Garcia and is working on her first book, ‘I Am Enough,’ a motivational time for young girls who face bullying, which is due out next year.
9: Gealey Byers is married to fellow Empire co-star Trai Byers.
10: Gealey Byers will be receiving the Rising Sun Award at the Caribbean Heritage Organization’s 2017 Caribbean Heritage Salute to Hollywood & Excellence Gala set for Saturday, June 17 at the Hilton Universal Studios in Hollywood, California.