Jussie Smollett performed for the first time since a racially-charged physical attack in Chicago, taking to the stage at the Troubadour (9081 N Santa Monica Blvd) in West Hollywood on Saturday night (Feb. 2).
The “Empire” star took time out during his performance to dispute a few assertions about the attack and make the case for why he is the gay Tupac Shakur.
Jussie Smollett speaks out at Los Angeles performance. pic.twitter.com/l8QZAQfubW
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 3, 2019
“I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked. They were not broken. I went to the doctor immediately,” he said. “I was not hospitalized. Both my doctors in L.A. and Chicago cleared me to perform but said to take care, obviously and, above all, I fought the fuck back. I’m the gay Tupac.”
Shakur is one of the best-selling music artists of all time having sold over 75 million records worldwide and noted for a strong focus on inner-city and a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality. In 1996 he was attacked by an unknown group of assailant and died from respiratory failure shortly after being shot in a hail of bullets on the streets of Las Vegas.
Smollett and his manager told Chicago police that he was assaulted by two men “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs” on Tuesday Jan. 29 soon after his arrival in Chicago. The assailants also reportedly poured an “unknown chemical substance” onto the actor and there are reports that he was seen wearing a noose the assailants had placed around his neck.
Police are looking into the assault as a hate crime but have so far been unable to make any charges.
“The most important thing I have to say is thank you so much and that I’m okay. I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to be and I’m gonna stand strong with y’all,” he told a crowd of hundreds of cheering fans.
The performance at Troubadour was scheduled long before the alleged attack.
Some conservative media and social media postings have questioned Smollett’s account. Chicago police have not found video evidence but continue to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.