Jussie Smollett’s famous siblings are staying by his side and assigning blame to the media for betraying their brother. Many of the Smolletts are involved in the entertainment industry, including Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Jazz Smollett-Warwell, and brothers Jocqui, Jake, and Jojo Smollett. Empire star Jussie Smollett is out on bond, but says that he has been betrayed by the system,
Pink News says that siblings Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Jocqui Smollett both posted a quote from Malcolm X in support of their imperilled brother.
“This is the media, the irresponsible media. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you aren’t careful, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Sister Jazz and brother Jake have both commented that Jussie is still healing, but he’s doing better, adding that they are a “strong family.”
And the family is staying by Jussie’s side, says the Daily Mail, as most were with him at his bond hearing, continuing to support him as a victim. Smollett learned today that he will not film the last two episodes of Empire due to the off-screen drama.
— Publishers Weekly (@PublishersWkly) February 22, 2019
But the Hollywood Reporter says that while the Smollett family remains supportive, some close friends are finding themselves “numb,” saying that the allegations against Jussie Smollett are a real break in character from the man they have known for years.
Ralph Louis Harris, an actor, writer, and comedian, has known the Smolletts since 1994 and their sitcom, On Our Own, and says that he’s always known Jussie Smollett as a hard-working kid who loved the arts.
Harris is speaking as the representative of the community of old Smollett family friends who have been watching the drama unfold on the sidelines and struggling to understand what actually happened.
“We’re kind of numb. I’m also a comedian, and in the cynical world of comedy, I’ve watched a lot of my comedy family take shots at this thing, and they don’t realize how much it stings.”
Harris remembers Jussie coming of age on the set of the sitcom, saying that he has always been so talented. He says that years later when he saw that Smollett was then singing, he was thrilled for him, adding “I didn’t know he could sing!”
In his mind, the Smolletts were a nice family and incredibly disciplined. He also said that their bond was unmistakable, and that he thought of them as a “clique.”