Just days after the brutal hate crime, Smollett confirmed plans to keep the scheduled performance at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.
Smollett, 36, who plays gay performer Jamal Lyon on the Fox drama, was allegedly attacked Tuesday by two masked assailants using racist and homophobic slurs. They reportedly yelled, “Aren’t you that faggot Empire nigger?” and “This is MAGA country!”
The attackers also reportedly tied rope around Smollett’s neck and poured bleach on him in what Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker called “an attempted modern-day lynching.”
The Chicago Police Department have released a screenshot from surveillance video of two persons of interest in connection with the attack, which they are treating as a potential hate crime.
“The most important thing that I can say is to keep it simple and say thank you and I’m okay,” Smollett told the cheering Troubadour crowd, which included Empire co-creator Lee Daniels and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. “I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to, and I’m going to stand strong with you all.”
“I had to be here tonight,” he continued. “I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win!”
Jussie Smollett speaks out on inaccuracies surrounding his attack. pic.twitter.com/xHYW8Q5bBy
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) February 3, 2019
“I 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 you will all stand with me.”
Smollett also took the opportunity to correct some rumors and misreporting regarding the attack. “There’s been a lot of stuff that’s been said about me that’s absolutely not true,” he said, reading from notes. “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 fuck back.”
As the audience cheered, he joked, “I’m the gay Tupac!”
“I just want to say that I stand on so many backs of so many people,” Smollett said before leaving the stage. “I stand on the backs of the Lee Danielss. I stand on the backs of the Wilson Cruzs and the Bayard Rustins and the Langston Hughess and the James Baldwins and the Alvin Aileys, and I pray to god that I made y’all proud.”
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett said Friday in his first official statement following the attack. “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.”
“I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level,” he continued. “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,” Smollett continued, acknowledging that his fame has attracted national attention. “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.”
“Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief, and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love,” he concluded. “It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me.”