Jussie Smollett on Why He Didn’t Want His “Empire” Character to Have a White Boyfriend

"I said, ‘F*ck no!’"

When actor Jussie Smollett learned his Empire character’s love interest was going to be white, he said, “Fuck no!”

On Wednesday (November 14) during an interview on The Clay Cane Show on SiriusXM, Smollett revealed his character Jamal Lyon almost had a white boyfriend, but he was not here for it.

“There was talk about Jamal having a white boyfriend and I said, ’Fuck no!'” said the actor, 35. “Not for any reason except we have a responsibility and we have a such a beautiful opportunity to show two black men in a relationship together, in a healthy relationship.”

He continued, “But it was important and that wasn’t anything against white men. It was just a thing of…this is what I wished I had seen as a kid because if I had seen certain things as an adolescent, I would have had a much different understanding of who I am in an earlier space. I do think that is important to show.”

According to GLAAD’s most recent Where We Are On TV report, which for the past 23 years has tracked representation of LGBTQ characters on television, for the first time, there are more LGBTQ people of color (50%) than white LGBTQ people (49%) on broadcast television. So, kudos to Smollett for advocating for more diverse representation and black queer love stories on screen.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie and pop diva addict living in Manhattan. Follow him on everything @dirrtykingofpop.