Saturday night, actor/singer/Empire star Jussie Smollett made his first public appearance since a hate crime was committed against him Tuesday morning. The event was a previously scheduled concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. It was sold out. And during the encore, Smollett returned to the stage with a piece of paper in hand, ready to set the record straight on what happened.
“There’s been a lot of stuff that’s been said about me that’s absolutely not true,” Smollett began. “There’s just a couple of points that I want to make really quick. Four points…I was bruised, but my ribs were not cracked. They were not broken. I went to the doctor immediately. Frank Gatson drove me. I was not hospitalized. Both my doctors in L.A. and Chicago cleared me to perform but said to take care obviously. And above all, I fought the f*** back.”
After that last point, the audience broke into cheers for Smollett. And when they began to settle, he said, “I’m the gay Tupac,” sparking another round of cheers.
See this amazing moment for yourself:
Jussie Smollett speaks out on inaccuracies surrounding his attack. pic.twitter.com/xHYW8Q5bBy— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) February 3, 2019
On January 29 in Chicago, Smollett was assaulted by two men who poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck, and shouted racist and homophobic slurs at the Black gay celeb, while declaring, “This is MAGA country.” (Connect the dots.)
Smollett released a statement on Friday, saying:
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK. My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words…
These types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me.”
On stage Saturday, he extended his appreciation to the queer groundbreakers of color who came before him.
“I just want to say that I stand on so many backs of so many people. I stand on the backs of the Lee Daniels’. I stand on the backs of the Wilson Cruz’s and the Bayard Rustin’s and the Langston Hughes’ and the James Baldwin’s and the Alvin Ailey’s, and I pray to God that I made y’all proud.”