Jussie Smollett returned to the stage at West Hollywood’s Troubadour club on Saturday, CNN reported. The performance came less than a week after he was assaulted by two men in Chicago on Tuesday Jan. 29. During his concert, the actor and singer took a moment to clarify some details of his attack, as well as to say that while he’s not totally healed, he’s not letting his assailants win.
“I have so many words on my heart,” Smollett said to the audience, per Variety. “The most important thing I have to 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 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 now…let’s do it.”
On Tuesday, Smollett was attacked in Chicago around 2 a.m. by two unknown men who yelled out racial and homophobic slurs, poured “unknown chemical substances,” and wrapped a rope around his neck. The assailants then fled the scene. According to CNN, the Chicago police department is investigating the assault as a possible hate crime. Smollett, who is openly gay and black, plays an openly gay character on the show Empire.
Smollett paused to clarify at his show on Saturday some details about the attack. He told fans that he had bruises but his ribs didn’t break. He also said that he wasn’t hospitalized, and the doctors in Chicago and Los Angeles cleared him to perform. “I had to be here tonight, y’all,” he said. “I can’t let the motherf*ckers win.” The actor also told the crowd that he “fought the f*ck back.”
Jussie Smollett speaks out on inaccuracies surrounding his attack. pic.twitter.com/xHYW8Q5bBy
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) February 3, 2019
The actor was joined by his family, Empire creator Lee Daniels, actor Wilson Cruz, and Rep. Maxine Waters. His brother, Jojo, introduced him to the audience, saying, “There’s been an outpouring of love and support…There’s also been (inflammatory) stories spread that have hurt him deeply. I sincerely wanted him to stay out of the public until he healed. And after much debate, some arguing and many tears, my family and I have realized that tonight is an important part of his healing. You see, he’s been a fighter since he was a baby. He fought his attackers that night and he continues to fight. Jussie is a true artist every time he breathes. But above all else, he is the epitome of love.”
This is not the first time that Smollett and his family has commented on the attack. The actor released a statement on Friday to Essence, “Let me start by saying that I’m OK. 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.”
He continued with, “I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”