Jussie Smollett is an American singer, songwriter, and actor who began his career as a child actor. Smollett came into global prominence and reckoning with his role as Jamal Lyon in the Fox drama series Empire.
Prior to his impressive showing on Empire, he had previously appeared in films such as The Mighty Ducks and Rob Reiner’s North. On 20 February 2019, he was charged with felony for filing a false police report.
Jussie Smollett was born on 21 June 1982 in Santa Rosa, California to Joel Smollett and Janet Smollett (nee Harris). Smollett had his education at Paramus Catholic High School in Paramus, New Jersey.
He made his debut in acting as a child in 1987. His first movie was A Little Piece of Heaven (1991) which was an NBC TV film. As a child, he also featured in The Mighty Ducks (1992) and North (1994). After a hiatus, Smollett returned to acting in 2012 playing the lead role in Patric-lan Polk’s LGBT theme comedy-drama The Skinny. Also, in the same year, he appeared on The Mindy Project and released an extended play (EP) entitled The Poisoned Hearts Club.
In 2014, he made a huge career leap when he starred alongside Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard in the drama series Empire. He portrayed the role of Jamal Lyon – a gay musician that seeks to gain his father’s support and approval. His role was praised as an outstanding piece of work for his positive portrayal on television of a black gay man. He featured in the television series Revenge that same year.
Smollett co-wrote You’re So Beautiful and I Wanna Love You which are songs on the Original Soundtrack from Season 1 of Empire album which was released in 2015. The same year, he confirmed to have signed a recording contract with Columbia Records. In 2018, he self-released his debut album titled Sum of My Music through Music of Sound which is his own music label.
Jussie Smollett is not married and is openly gay. In May 2018, Smollett claimed that he was coupled up but it is not known who his partner is. However, it was rumored in 2017 that he was in a romantic relationship with Tawan Davis. Both of them work for the welfare of the African American community
Staged Attack Updates
Smollett claimed he received a letter on 22 January 2019 addressed to him at Chicago’s Cinespace Studios which contained homophobic as well as racial threats and a white powdery substance. On 29 January 2019, Smollett alleged he was attacked in the early hours of the morning outside his apartment building in Chicago by two masked men who addressed him by homophobic and racial slurs and said: “this is MAGA country”.
He claimed his attackers beat him up, doused him with chemical and tied his neck with a rope. Smollett said he was eventually able to overpower them. He received treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Unfortunately, there was no security video coverage of the incident but cameras were able to cover two persons near the scene of the claimed attack.
On 13 February 2019, the Chicago police took in two brothers, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, who were persons of interest in the case. The brothers were questioned but were not charged with a crime and were released on 15 February 2019. Anthony Guglielmi, Chicago Police Department Spokesman, stated the release of the brothers was due to new evidence from the interrogations.
On 16 February, Police sources claimed that the Chicago police had made discovery of evidence showing that Jussie Smollett had paid $3,500 US dollars to the brothers to stage the attack.
On 20 February 2019, Smollett was charged with a case of class 4 felony for filing a false police report. Smollett is likely to get a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison if eventually found guilty.
On 21 February, Smollett turned himself into the Cook County jail and got out same day after paying $10,000 which is 10% of the $100,000 bond. He was requested to surrender his passport.
Following his arrest, Smollett’s character was taken off the final two episodes of Empire’s fifth season.
Jussie Smollett’s Siblings
Jussie Smollett is the third child of six children; he has three brothers and two sisters. His brothers’ names are Jake, Jocqui, and Jojo. His sisters are Jurnee and Jazz. In the ABC sitcom On Our Own, Smollett featured alongside his biological siblings.
Some of his siblings are also actors. His two sisters, Jurnee and Jazz are popular actresses. Smollett featured alongside his younger sister, Junee, on Underground which was televised in 2016
His parents are Joel Smollett (father) and Janet Smollett nee Harris (mother). Smollett is biracial; his father is Jewish, while his mum is African-American. Jussie lost his father to cancer in 2015.