The popular Fox musical drama “Empire” has largely bolstered the careers of stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, but has also brought several new or lesser-known talents to the forefront of Hollywood and pop culture. So it was with Jussie Smollett, who played Jamal Lyon’s middle son in the series. But his rise to fame was cut short after Smollett was suspected of lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime in Chicago. He was eventually found guilty on those charges, but after Smollett was released from prison on probation pending his appeal, he talked about trying to return to the BET Awards.
What did Jussie Smollett say about his return to Hollywood?
On June 26, some of the best and brightest Hollywood stars came out for the BET Awards, including Jussie Smollett from Empire. The actor and musician attended after his directorial debut, B-Boy Blues, premiered on BET+ earlier this month. During a conversation with Entertainment Tonight before the event, Smollett was asked about “going back to Hollywood,” and he said:
You know, I never thought of myself as a working way back. It is wonderful. It has always been a plan, so to speak, to expand my empire. Expand the level of what I want to do… to be able to discover a new generation of artists and actors and this amazing talent that exists and can tell so much, that’s what feeds me.
The actor was able to make his film while still being embroiled in legal problems due to the alleged hate crime. At the end of January 2019, Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two men on the street when he was going to get food at 2 a.m., saying that they hit him in the face, put a noose around his neck, doused him with bleach and shouted racist and homophobic insults at him. Although he quickly received support from a number of other celebrities (including those who worked with him on Empire, such as Howard) and fans, Smollett soon spoke out about being treated like a criminal during the investigation.
Less than a month after Smollett reported the assault, the Chicago Police Department charged him with disorderly conduct for filing a false report. Smollett maintained that he was innocent (and still is), and the charges were dropped at the end of March 2019 after the star forfeited his $10,000 bail payment and performed community service. However, a few days later, the city of Chicago sued Smollett on six counts of hooliganism on suspicion of giving false information: in early June, he was expelled from Empire, and then at the end of 2021 he was found guilty on five of these counts.
Smollett had many fans, friends, family members and co-stars like Taraji P. Henson who supported him in the midst of legal troubles, and he also had some nice words when asked what he would say. those who got stuck next to him, and said:
I tell them, from the bottom of my heart, just thank you. They never refused, they never stepped over the fence, and for that I am always grateful to them. I don’t take it lightly. My family, my friends, the real ones, if I never manage to hug you personally, know that there is a hug in my heart that I sincerely mean.
Jussi Smollett also noted that he will have new music soon, as he is awaiting news of his appeal. He served six days of his 150-day sentence, but also had 30 months of probation and had to pay a $25,000 fine and $120,106 restitution to the Chicago Police, so hopefully Smollett’s case can come to an end. before too long.