'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Rises Above Chicago Attack
On Tuesday January 29, Empire actor and musician Jussie Smollett was attacked by two men who yelled out racist and homophobic slurs in what Chicago police are regarding as a hate crime.
During a recent concert, Smollett tearfully addressed his fans about the attack, telling them he has not fully healed but will be okay. He described how the attackers tied a rope around his neck–reminiscent of lynching attacks that black Americans faced frequently in the early 20th century–and poured a mysterious liquid some have identified as bleach onto his body. Smollett, who plays a gay character on Empire, also personally identifies as gay.
In the concert last Saturday at West Hollywood’s Troubadour club, Smollett clarified the details following the attack, he was bruised but his ribs were not cracked or broken. He also said that he went to a doctor immediately, but he wasn't hospitalized, and physicians in both Chicago and Los Angeles cleared him to perform at the concert.
He took time to thank all those who rallied beside him and the fans who arrived that night, reminding them that they need to move away from hate because love is the only thing they have. After an encore, he remarked that now is the time to be “blacker and gayer” in the face of such adversity. He also praised openly gay actor Wilson Cruz of My So Called Life for inspiring him, who was in the audience.
Although this was Smollett’s first public appearance since the attack, it is not his first time addressing the incident. In a statement issued by Essence, Smollett comments on how this is not an isolated incident and we need to be collectively more aware of these kinds of issues to prevent them from happening in the future.
He also addressed speculation on the matter, saying he has been 100% factual and consistent with authorities. "Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served," he wrote.
Smollett’s family has addressed the incident on social media, supporting the actor and condemning the behavior of his attackers as racial and homophobic. The attack has caused widespread outrage, and rightly so, with prominent celebrities and the general public expressing their anger and disbelief online.
Chicago police have released photos of persons of interest in the attack and are asking the public to help find the culprits. Investigators have said they have a video of Smollett entering the hotel after the alleged attack in what appears to be a noose around his neck.
Feature image via.