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'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Rises Above Chicago Attack

'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.

I had to be here tonight, y’all, I couldn’t let those (expletives) ... win. Above all I fought ... (expletive) back.
— Smolett on holding 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.

Statement by the the Smollett family via  Smollett’s sister Jurnee on Instagram :  Because there’s a light in him that cannot be dimmed, because we are a family of joyful warriors, we will not let this get the best of us. Although this is a picture from happier times, this is the spirit to which we chose to move forward...they will not steal, our joy. ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽  Statement from our family: “ In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world.  With love & gratitude,   The Smollett Family”

Statement by the the Smollett family via Smollett’s sister Jurnee on Instagram:

Because there’s a light in him that cannot be dimmed, because we are a family of joyful warriors, we will not let this get the best of us. Although this is a picture from happier times, this is the spirit to which we chose to move forward...they will not steal, our joy. ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽

Statement from our family: “ In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world.
With love & gratitude,


The Smollett Family”

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.

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