Jussie Smollett’s eldest brother Jojo Smollett is speaking out in support of the Empire actor brother in a new essay.
The op-ed posted on BET.com has Jojo defending his younger brother, who has kept a low profile ever since the charges alleging he lied to police about a hate crime attack were dropped last month. Smollett had pleaded not guilty to the 16 charges.
“Within less than three months, his life has been turned upside down as my family and I have witnessed him endure unrelenting attacks to his character and reputation,” JoJo wrote. “Like so many others, this entire process quickly devolved from a focus on him as a victim of assault, to him being falsely accused and held responsible for a crime that was perpetrated against him. To define this experience as unjust would be an understatement.”
In the long essay, Jojo gives us a glimpse of his brother’s life after the charges were dropped, including the fact that Jussie has suffered night terrors since the incident in Chicago.
“Jussie is as strong as iron, but following an attack like this, there is a normal and natural amount of post trauma that mostly anyone should expect to suffer,” JoJo wrote. “I have literally seen him violently awakening from night terrors, following the assault. Some of my siblings, as well as Jussie’s partner and closest friends have seen similar things.”
JoJo called his younger brother a “good, soulful and spiritual man,” but did not want you to take pity on him.
“I am definitely not asking you to feel sorry for my brother,” he wrote. “He would never allow that. He still carries a humility, grace and knows he walks in more rarified air than so many people who have been wrongly accused and paying a heavy price. I am simply hoping there are some conscious-minded people out there who, instead of carelessly victim blaming and shaming, want to loudly ask the simple question: ‘What if Jussie is telling the truth?’”
You can read the full essay here.