Jussie Smollett is an actor and musician, best known for his role of Jamal Lyon on Fox's "Empire" and in "Alien: Covenant" as Ricks. He came out as gay in a 2015 interview with Ellen Degeneres and also portrays a homosexual man in the character of Jamal Lyon. However, there's more to Lyon than his sexual orientation, just like there is more to Jussie than his own preference.
Lyon is a dedicated performer with obvious talent, the son of a CEO of a major music label and music tycoon Lucious Lyon. He dressed in his mother's clothes when he was a child and even though his mother defended him, Lucious threw him in a trash can, saying that he did not want a son like that. Cookie Lyon was eventually arrested for dealing drugs and Jamal grew up with 17 years without his mother, regularly dealing with abuse from his father as if he would somehow magically not like men anymore.
Jussie Smollett received a letter with MAGA imagery and a threatening message, portraying a picture of Smollett hanging from a tree with a noose around his neck.
"You will die a black fag," adorned the white paper, letters cut out from magazines. He denied any security and was attacked on January 29 early morning in Chicago by, according to Smollett, two men wearing ski masks and shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett says they inhumanely tied a rope around his neck and doused him in bleach — a modern-day lynching. He walked himself to a nearby hospital and was released later the day in good condition. It sickens me to my stomach that this is the America we are living in today.
News media is calling the attack a "possible" hate crime. It's not a possibility, the assault was full of hate.
Chicago Police Department has said that they have footage of Jussie walking alone, but they do not have video of the attack. Some suspect that Smollett created this ordeal of his own making, that it is a "convenient" time for a liberal agenda with the denial of Trump's wall or even to raise "Empire" ratings. What did he do? Beat himself up? Ask one of his friends to do it? Maybe the assailants dragged him to where there were no cameras or he simply walked out of shot.
People of color and those in the LGBTQ+ community are terrified to experience the same on a daily basis. Can you imagine being deathly afraid of being possibly killed just because of the amount of melanin in your skin or who you love or perhaps you choose to be yourself? If you can't, then sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you have privilege! I am a white cisgender heterosexual woman and fully aware of my privilege, but consider myself to be an ally of those targeted against.
The number of hate crimes in this country rose a shocking 17 percent from 2016 to 2017.
It is the third year in a row that the numbers have risen and the way that 2019 is going, I suspect it won't be the last. There is also suspicion that local law enforcement does not report the correct number of hate crimes and the total is far greater than the FBI annual reports. Smollett and Alicia Keys recorded the song "Powerful," about putting a stop to hate crimes against all shades of color. There should be a time where no one is afraid to walk around in fear of being assaulted for something they cannot control. Smollett now has a security detail and the filming of "Empire" has halted until he is ready to return.
Making America great again is not this. It is not hate and attacking one another for being their most true selves.