Empire actor Jussie Smollett spoke about the attack on him for the first time at a performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Smollett’s family took the stage first, his brother Jojo speaking: “He’s been a fighter since he was a baby. He fought his attackers that night and he continues to fight.”
Added Jojo: “I wanted Jussie to sit this one out. I sincerely wanted him to stay out of the public [eye] until he heals. And after much debating, some arguing, many tears, my family and I realized that tonight is an important part of Jussie’s healing.”
Smollett then took the stage, addressing the audience: “I have so many words on my heart. The most important thing that I can say is thank you so much and that I’m okay. I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to. And I’m gonna stand strong with y’all. I had to be here tonight. I couldn’t let those motherf**kers win. l will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than that. Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love. And I hope that you all will stand with me. So thank you, now… let’s do it.”
He spoke about the attack again at the encore.
Said Smollett: “Just because there has been a lot of stuff said about me that’s absolutely not true…I’m sure my lawyer’s sitting up there like. ‘No, Jussie, no! No! Shut the f**k up and sing.’”
He added: “There are just a couple of points I wanted to make pretty quick…four points….I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked; they were not broken. I went to the doctor immediately. I was not hospitalized. Both my doctors in L.A. and Chicago cleared me to perform, but said to take care, obviously. And above all: I fought the f**k back.”
Smollett closed the show by saying, “We are proud. We are gay.”
During the show Smollett also addressed Empire creator Lee Daniels and actor Wilson Cruz, Variety adds: “I promised myself I was not gonna cry tonight… Someone in the crowd that I want to recognize: Wilson Cruz is someone I identified with growing up. I stand on the backs of so many people — of the Lee Daniels and the Wilson. Cruzes — and I pray to God I make you all proud.”