We’re hearing from Jussie Smollett for the first time since his brutal attack earlier this week.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” the Empire actor said in a statement to ESSENCE on Friday. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words.”
Smollett was beaten and brutalized by two men on Tuesday in Chicago. According to police there, the attackers first yelled racial and homophobic slurs before they beat him and poured an unknown chemical substance over him. They released photos of a pair wanted for questioning about the incident on Thursday.
“I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level,” Smollett said about the misinformation being spread across social media about his attack. ” Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”
“As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process,” he concluded. “Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me.”
Smollett ended his statement by signing, “With Love, respect & honor…Jussie.”
The Smollett family released a statement of their own yesterday that echos some of the same sentiments made in Jussie’s statement.