When TMZ first broke the story of the assault Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on the show "Empire", suffered, I was filled with so much rage I could hardly think well enough to continue reading about what happened.
Then, I was filled with such deep sadness that I had to avoid all social media for a while because the news was everywhere I looked, with different celebrities, activists, and friends of mine all posting their condolences and thoughts about the situation. But finally, I gathered myself, and here is my article detailing my thoughts about what has happened.
For those who haven't heard the news, Jussie Smollett was assaulted on Tuesday by a group of people who, according to the sources, called him the f-slur and the n-word, beat him, put a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and, according to Jussie's police report, yelled "This is MAGA country" as they ran off after they were done.
First and foremost, I want to send my love to Jussie and everyone in his life, and to wish him a speedy recovery. Next, I want to make sure everyone is aware of just how horrid this attack was.
This was not just because Jussie is Black, this was not just because Jussie is gay, this is because of the intersection of his Blackness and his sexual orientation. When thinking about the attack, these identities must not be separated, they are both integral parts of Jussie's life and their overlapping is the primary motivation for his attack.
This was not just an assault, this was a racist and homophobic assault, it was a hate crime. The perpetrators of this attack yelled homophobic and racist slurs at Jussie, there is no question about their motivations.
Even if someone were to call their language fabricated, their actions (the noose and bleach, especially) just further solidify that there was no non-bigoted reason for them to do what they did.
Even if they hadn't explicitly shouted their loyalty for our president, there is no doubt in my mind that Trump being in office helped to motivate the attack. According to the FBI, hate crimes rose in a rapid rate the day after Trump was elected, and have continued to rise since then.
This is likely due to Trump's hateful rhetoric. From even before he ever ran for president, to his time spent in office, Donald Trump has been both implicitly and explicitly racist, homophobic, sexist, and outright hateful.
It has never been more dangerous to be a Black gay man in the 21st century than it is right now, and this assault goes to show that even fame will not protect people from the horrors of the bigotry in this nation today.
Taking someone like Donald Trump and electing him as the leader of our country has not helped to make the lives of any marginalized peoples or minorities any easier, and has only proven to make their lives more and more dangerous as time goes on.
If Jussie's attackers explicitly said "MAGA country," then this is an even bigger problem than it has ever been before, because it shows that people are using the President of the United States as motivation and justification for hate crimes. If the leader of our nation can be used as a scapegoat to excuse people of violent bigotry, what does that say about the country that elected him?