Jussie Smollett is finally speaking out after the homophobic and racist attack he endured earlier this week.
The Empire star and LGBTQ+ activist was beaten by two men early Tuesday morning in Chicago, police said in statement, just after leaving a Subway restaurant. Police added that a noose was found around the actor’s neck. Smollett was able to transport himself to the hospital after suffering injuries.
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In an exclusive statement addressed to the “beautiful people,” Smollett not only assured fans that he’s recovering, but that he’s thankful for the mass outpouring of support he’s received over the last few days.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett began in his statement to ESSENCE. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words. ”
In his statement, Smollett also addressed the misinformation that has been circulating about the incident, and dispelling rumors on social media that his story changed.
Smollett said, “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. ”
“As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process,” he concluded. “Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me.”
Smollett signed his statement by writing, “With Love, respect & honor…Jussie.”
In a statement released Thursday, Smollett’s family echoed much of his statement, saying they are standing by their “beloved son and brother.”
“Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed,” the family’s statement read in part. “We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country.”
Their statement concluded, “Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world.”