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"This isn’t a show about happy endings," says Smollett. "It’s messy and wild and emotional but it’s worth the ride. It will pay off. Don’t stop watching.”  

Mekeisha Madden Toby
Dec, 01, 2015

Jussie Smollett knows some Empire fans may have changed the channel this season. But he wants to encourage them not to give up yet.

“I understand the backlash,” Smollett, 32, said after performing “You’re So Beautiful” and two other songs at a recent Lincoln Motor Company event in Santa Monica, Calif. “They have something to compare it to now. But this isn’t a show about happy endings. It’s messy and wild and emotional and complicated and f*cked up but it’s worth the ride. It will pay off. Don’t stop watching.”

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Meanwhile, Smollett remains amazed and proud of how much viewers relate to his character Jamal and the hip-hop drama in general.

“Everyone, no matter their age, race or sexual orientation can relate to the underdog,” Smollett said. “Everyone has felt misunderstood and counted out – some of us more than others – but we all know that feeling and that’s what Jamal represents.”

Empire's winter finale airs this Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 9pm ET/8c.