Earlier this week, the disheartening attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett sparked a media firestorm on social media. In the early hours of Tuesday, January 29, Jussie was attacked in Chicago, Illinois, by two unidentified suspects. According to multiple reports, the attack is being classified as an alleged racist and homophobic attack. According to CNN, Jussie’s attackers spewed racial slurs and made derogatory comments about the actor’s sexuality before attacking him.
Jussie Smollett reportedly had a noose-like rope tied around his neck and was doused with bleach. Shortly after reports began circulating about the attack, Jussie’s family, friends, and fans took to social media to share their reactions to the attack. Now, his sister, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, has also released a statement in support of her brother. Jurnee took to social media with a candid photo of her siblings.
She captioned the photo with a description of Jussie’s spirit describing her family as “joyful warriors.” Jurnee admitted the photo captured her family at a happier time in their lives, but she insisted the photo is a representation of the positive energy they desire to maintain.
“Because there’s a light in him that cannot be dimmed, because we are a family of joyful warriors, we will not let this get the best of us. Although this is a picture from happier times, this is the spirit to which we chose to move forward…they will not steal, our joy.”
Below her statement, Jurnee also reposted the official statement released on behalf of the Smollett family. In just a short period of time, Jurnee’s statement has gone viral with tons of fans commenting to offer well wishes to Jussie as he recovers.
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Because there’s a light in him that cannot be dimmed, because we are a family of joyful warriors, we will not let this get the best of us. Although this is a picture from happier times, this is the spirit to which we chose to move forward...they will not steal, our joy. ✊????✊????✊???? ________________________________________________________Statement from our family: “ In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world. With love & gratitude, The Smollett Family”
Jussie Smollett was reportedly scheduled to make an appearance at Troubadour in West Hollywood, California, on Saturday, February 2. However, the singer/actor released a statement confirming the cancellation of the performance as he recovers from the recent attack. In an emailed statement to ABC News, security concerns were cited as the reason for the seemingly abrupt cancellation.
“Jussie is so honored to perform for his fans, friends and family on Saturday night. However, please forgive us. For security reasons, we cannot accommodate any meet & greets. Your meet & greet upgrade can either be refunded or donated to the Black AIDS Institute in your name,” the statement read.
The Chicago Police Department is currently investigating the attack. Recent reports have confirmed the law enforcement agency have been able to retrieve surveillance footage of the attack. They are now working to identify the assailants.