Jussie Smollett Addresses Attack at Concert: 'I Will Always Stand For Love'

Jussie Smollett made his first public appearance on Saturday in the wake of a horrific attack in Chicago that police are investigating as a hate crime.

The Empire star went ahead with a previously scheduled concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Calif., where he addressed the assault, as well as his aggressors.

“The most important thing I can say is thank you so much, and I’m OK,” Smollett said, according to the Associated Press. “I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to [be], and I’m gonna stand strong with y’all.

“I had to be here tonight,” he continued. “I couldn’t let those motherf–kers win. I will always stand for love…. regardless of what anyone says, I will only stand for love.”

At the end of his performance, Smollett clarified the extent of his injuries. He said that his ribs were bruised, but not cracked. He saw a doctor, but was not hospitalized.

“Above all, I fought the f–k back,” he said, before adding with a laugh, “I’m the gay Tupac.”

Per the Chicago Police Department, Smollett was walking down the street early Tuesday morning when two individuals approached him and began yelling racial and homophobic slurs. The offenders then became physically violent, battering the actor with their hands and pouring an “unknown chemical substance” on him, per the CPD. At some point during the altercation, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around Smollett’s neck before fleeing the scene.

The actor also told police that the perpetrators referenced President Trump’s rallying cry, “Make America Great Again,” during the attack, per The Hollywood Reporter. (Trump later called the incident “horrible.”)

On Friday, Smollett put out a written statement, assuring fans that “my body is strong but my soul is stronger.” Though he expressed frustration with “certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread” since the attack, he said he remains grateful for the community’s support and reiterated that such “cowardly attacks” happen often in the LGBTQ community. (Read his complete statement here.)

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