Jussie Smollett has been absent from social media for months in the wake of accusations that he staged an attack against himself in Chicago earlier this year. But the former Empire actor has finally decided to return, and he did it by paying tribute to his sister.
According to The Blast, Smollett posted a series of photos on his Instagram story wishing his sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell a happy 33rd birthday.
“Happy birthday young Queen. I love you more than life. See you in a couple of days,” he wrote over a somber black-and-white photo of the two facing the camera.
In another photo, he stands with his family in a row in front of a white wall. In a third photo, he and his sister sit side by side with her head on his shoulder.
Smollett is very close to his family, and they were there for him in the wake of the scandal that resulted in his removal from the show. Reportedly, Smollett staged an attack and filed a police report claiming that he was assaulted by two men wearing MAGA hats and shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.
Police later claimed that the attack was fake, and Smollett was arrested and charged with 16 felony counts for lying to the police. The charges were later dropped, much to the chagrin of the chief of police. Now, the city of Chicago has charged the actor thousands of dollars for wasting police resources.
But his family has stood by him, defending Smollett against the accusations. Most recently, the entire event was brought back into the spotlight after a girl was accused of cutting off her own dreadlocks and claiming her white classmates had done it. When someone compared the situation to that of Smollett’s, the actor took issue with the comments.
“With all due respect brother, y’all can clown me all you want but my story has actually never changed and I haven’t lied about a thing,” Smollett said. “Y’all can continue to be misinformed, internalized sheep, who believe what actual proven liars feed you or you can read the actual docs.”
“Either way, I’mma be alright,” he added. “I know me and what happened. You don’t. So carry on. All love.”
Smollett has not posted on his Instagram page since June 26. It was announced that he will not be returning for the final season of the show that made him famous.