Jussie Smollett Makes First Public Appearance After Apparent Hate Crime
The 35-year-old actor and musician tearfully told a packed crowd “I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to [be]. I’m going to stand strong with y’all.”
— Zulekha Nathoo (@ZulekhaNathoo) February 3, 2019
Smollett, who appears in the popular show Empire, still had a knot on his face during the show.
The Jan. 29 attack on Smollett is being investigated as a “possible hate crime,” after two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs while they beat him, put a rope around his neck and doused him with an unknown chemical substance.
In a subsequent interview with authorities, Smollett, who is black and openly gay, said the perps made reference to “MAGA,” President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” catchphrase that was created during the 2016 presidential election.
Following his performance on Saturday, Smollett took time to clarify some misconceptions surrounding the apparent hate crime. “I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked; they were not broken,” he said referring to some notes he’d brought on stage. “I went to the doctor immediately. I was not hospitalised.”
Jussie Smollett speaks out at Los Angeles performance. pic.twitter.com/l8QZAQfubW
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 3, 2019
“Above all, I fought the f–k back,” Smollett concluded before ending the show.
While this was Smollett’s first public appearance since the attack, this is not the first time he has spoken out. In a statement first published by Essence on Friday, Smollett said his attack wasn’t an isolated incident.
“These types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily,” he said in the statement. “I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served,” he continued.
On Wednesday, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi released an update on the case, revealing that investigators have acquired footage that could lead to the arrests of the actor’s assailants.
Getting closer…🌈👊🏾 https://t.co/4ZE9SmYclQ
— lee daniels (@leedanielsent) January 30, 2019
The surveillance video shows two people of interest walking along a snow-covered street near where the beating took place.
Police are still searching for the assailants involved in the attack and have not made any arrests as of yet.