From staff reports
Happy Holidays from the Lyon family.
A trio of stars from Fox’s “Empire” – Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Gray – spent a week visiting and entertaining American service members and their families in Japan as part of a USO entertainment tour.
Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Gray and Taraji P. Henson address the crowd at an “Empire” white party at Yokota Air Base during their USO tour of Japan.
Jussie Smollett from Fox’s “Empire” poses for a photo during a USO tour to Japan.
Bryshere Gray from Fox’s “Empire” poses for a photo during a USO entertainment tour in Japan
Jussie Smollett greets students at Yokota High School during a USO tour to Japan.
Service members cheer and take photos as cast members from “Empire” visit Misawa Air Base in Japan during a USO tour.
Taraji P. Henson from Fox’s “Empire” poses for a photo during a USO entertainment tour to Japan.
“Empire” actors Bryshere Gray, left, Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett pose during their USO entertainment tour in Japan.
Jussie Smollett takes a selfie with a military family during the “Empire” USO tour to Japan.
“We spend so many hours working and so many hours traveling,” Smollett said, “and we see [service members], you realize what we do is nothing, it’s nothing… compared to what these women and men do every single day.
“It’s important for us to give back.”
The actors visited hundreds of Americans at Naval Air Facility Atsugi along with Yokota and Misawa Air Bases.
“My father was a Vietnam vet and I have a cousin that’s in the Navy,” Henson said. “He never comes home for Christmas, so that was a huge reason why I felt the need to come over here. I just thought about how much we missed him every Christmas and how many other families are missing their loved ones stationed overseas.
“This trip is a good way to pay homage to all those who risk their lives for us, my cousin included, and to let you guys know how much you are appreciated.”
The tour mixed traditional meet-and-greets with family friendly white parties that included “Empire” question-and-answer sessions, giveaways and musical performances by Smollett and Gray.
“I have two uncles who are in the military,” Gray said. “So, today, just coming here … was very powerful. I have a lot of respect for the military.”
More from the USO
Mar 8, 2018
These 9 World-Famous Women are an Integral Part of USO History
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re looking back at some of the famous females who have helped shape the history of the USO. From World War II to today, these nine women are just a few of the many who have traveled near and far to entertain service members at home and abroad.