Etched on Jussie's left arm are the words "I'm Gonna Make a Change" from Michael Jackon's song "Man In The Mirror."

"If I can help someone else feel less alone, no matter what they're going through, I'm happy to have that opportunity," he said.

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When it comes down to it, don't we all?

Taylor Lewis
Jul, 04, 2015

Cookie's influence knows no boundaries!

Just because Jussie Smollett and Taraji P. Henson's blood ties exist solely within the confines of the Empire sound stage doesn't mean that Jussie doesn't have at least a little bit of Cookie in him.

First-time ESSENCE Fest speaker and June ESSENCE cover star Smollett admitted that he strongly identifies with his on-screen mama's heart.

"Cookie is so that ride-or-die loyal human being," the Empire star told ESSENCE. "I definitely identify with Cookie in that way."

But what's the one Cookie-esque trait where he draws the line? "I don't walk around in leopard print of the same fashion or anything!"