Courtesy of Extra
Jussie Smollett hit the BET Awards on Sunday, one of the actor’s first appearances on the red carpet since his trial.
In December, a jury found Smollett guilty on five counts of felony disorderly conduct in connection with his faked hate crime case. In March, he was sentenced to 150 days behind bars and 30 months of probation, but was released after six days, pending an appeal. The star has always maintained he is innocent.
Now, he’s back in the spotlight, talking to Extra’s Rachel Lindsay about his directorial debut — the movie B-Boy Blues on BET+ — and what he’s doing next.
Jussie, who was joined by “B-Boy Blues” stars Thomas Mackie and Brandee Evans, said he hadn’t hesitated to attend the event.
“Not here, not here,” he said. “I made the commitment to myself to go where the love is. If you see me on a carpet, I made a choice to be there and I made the choice to be there with my people with love and respect. Just know I am happy to be here and I am happy to be here with mines.”
Smollett went on to talk about B-Boy Blues, which he co-wrote with James Earl Hardy, the author of the book series.
Smollett said, “It’s so meaningful. I grew up with B-Boy Blues as the book, so to be able to be embraced by James Earl Hardy … We were able to make a timeless love story that doesn’t necessarily look like every other love story, but no love story is like the next, but we still identify with love … I grew up with Jason’s Lyric, Boomerang … Pretty Woman … and I identify with all of them, even though I am a gay man. I identify because I identify with love.”
So will we see more directing from him? “Yes, I am directing my second film in November … It’s a holiday film, it’s got one of the most iconic actresses of our time starring in it with me.” Lindsay asked, “Do I get to guess? Is it Taraji?” Jussie said, “No, you don’t get to guess. Not Taraji.”
Although he isn’t acting with her, Smollett was happy to support Taraji P. Henson, his former Empire co-star, who was serving as host of the awards. “Always. That is my sister for life,” he said.
Thomas Mackie shared his favorite part of B-Boy Blues, telling Lindsay, “I think that it changed the trajectory of how people even view love and decreasing the stigmatism of same-sex love relationships.”
Evans added, “I love the fact that my friend is directing it. There is no one else I would want to learn from.” Evans called Smollett “professional, prompt,” saying, “He’s teaching you how you should go on set. I can say that after him, I started shadowing all my other shows.”