Hello Truthful Realists,
I know I’ve been MIA for a minute. I apologize. I had so many topics to pick from I just got overwhelmed but I think I found the right one this time. As the title might have suggested, I’m going to be talking about Jussie Smollett. If you live in the United States, you’re bound to have heard about how he was attacked by “strangers” on the street who beat him because he was gay and anti-trump. It didn’t stop there though. Time to find that little thing you like to put under your feet and kick back for a minute.
As an introduction for those less inclined to follow the rah-rah of celebrity news, Jussie Smollett is an actor on a show called Empire. The same Empire with Taraji P Henson and Terrance Howard, among others. I’m not very familiar with the show but apparently it is doing quite well, as it seems to be still on the air. Well, Jussie was attacked in Chicago while getting some food from Subway. According to him, two men beat him up, called him the N-word, called him the F-word (the homosexual slur one), doused him in bleach and tied a noose around his neck. He was able to survive the attack and report it to police.
Once he reported this incident to the police, the media was up on arms. Social media went crazy talking about how heinous the crime was and demanding justice happen. Jussie even went on some TV shows to talk about the attack and say that he is more than willing to put those who attacked him in prison. It was a very jarring moment. Not only was the attack “racially motivated” and a hate crime against a homosexual man but also against his political affiliation. It was almost unheard of to have so many factors involved. The accused even were quoted as yelling “This is MAGA country!” (MAGA = Make America Great Again, as if it really needed to be said by now).
Needless to say, civil rights activist were swearing this was common-day lynching. The way the story was told, they had every right to see it that way as well. When was the last time you’ve heard of an “African American” homosexual democrat getting attacked for all of those reasons? I can honestly say I’m not getting any memories of this in my time frame. It almost seemed too specific to be true. Well, walks-talks-acts usually is.
Fast forward to February 13, 2019. Police end up hauling two suspects in for the attacks. The suspects are questioned and released without charge two days later. If the story told were true, this would be shocking. The way the story is actually playing out though, seems a lot different. The two men arrested are two Nigerian brothers. Quite odd to hear of two Nigerian men randomly attacking a homosexual democrat. To make it even more odd, the two brothers worked on Empire with Jussie. To really throw a wrench into the gears, one of them was Jussie’s personal trainer. The end all? The two claim to have been paid by Jussie to commit this act.
Quick recap for those not following closely. Jussie Smollett claimed to have been attacked by two white males while walking home from Subway. The two men are alleged to have beat him, called him racial and homophobic slurs, doused him in bleach and put a noose around his neck and screaming “This is MAGA country”. What is now playing out to have happened is Jussie Smollett paid Nigerian brothers, who work on his show, to beat him, put a noose around his neck and scream out the MAGA stuff. Mind you, one of these men is someone who used to train him. They practiced this, the brothers are seen buying the rope and they told the police everything.
Let me be honest with you all for a minute. From the very start of this ordeal landing on my news feed, I assumed something was wrong. For one, I’ve never heard of Jussie Smollett. I’ve heard of the show Empire but he was not one of the cast memeber’s who’s name jumped out at me. The only Smollett I even remember is his sister Jurnee and that was just because I remember her from Full House (and remember something about her being in Eve’s Bayou). Aside from that, this mans name rang no bells.
The second reason I thought something was setting. I mean, I’ve walked to Subway at night before without issue. I know Chicago is a rough place but if I am on a hit show, that wouldn’t be the place I’d be taking that walk for something I could easily get from GrubHub or UberEats. Why would someone on a hit show be walking themselves to get food at 2 in the morning in that place and especially in that weather? I’ve seen celebrities not even walk to their own car before so this just shouted odd but even still, I could see past it.
The third reason is that it seemed to on-the-money. Let’s think about it for a second. Empire is a very specific show with a very specific audience. I watch a lot of TV shows but Empire is not one of them. I know it has rap, R&B, drama and the music industry. I’ve seen more Terrance Howard movies than I can count so that surely would be have been something to push me toward the show. Taraji P Henson is a spectacular actress whose work I’m familiar with as well. I’ve even followed a bunch of the drama regarding the show, the cast and the beef with 50-Cent’s Power on various news outlets (Okay, mainly TMZ!). All of these pluses, yet I still have never watched one single episode of this show. So that leads me to ask one huge question. If I, who have all these reasons to watch this show, have never watched this show, why would two racist straight homophobic Caucasian males in Chicago be watching this show well enough to know one of the lessor known cast members and then attack this person on site?
Don’t get me wrong, I know hate has no bounds and not all crimes make sense. Trust me, I spent a lot of my time watching Civil Rights documentaries on History Channel growing up so I know some things just don’t make sense. This, though, made absolutely no sense. Tell me this happened to Lil Wayne or Wayne Brady and I’d believe all of it without even reading follow up news, but this? No. No No No No NO!
So here we are now. Jussie has been charged with a felony, been taken off episodes of Empire, been the laughing stock of the media and admitted that all of this was publicity stunt just to earn more money. Celebrities have claimed that this stunt did everything from ruin black history month to almost starting a race war. All of this for more money. One stupid plan caused this much chaos in the span of two weeks. My problem is what does this mean for the future?
You see, this isn’t just a contained incident. Now, every single person that is attacked for their political affiliation, sexual orientation or racial makeup will have a hard time being believed. It would seem as though he wanted to harm Trump and all of his followers but now there is going to be a new narrative. Now, MAGA supporters will question every single event down to the bone. The sad part is that this is what should have happened to this story from the beginning. If the media had taken more thought about covering this before all the facts came out maybe they would have made less of a fool of themselves.
Going forward, I hope that the lesson has been learned by this man. Not only did you make a great mistake on behalf of your own life but you also did the same for others that supported you, identified with any of the groups he claimed to be attacked for or that didn’t question it. It’s a mistake and no one (other than the planner) was hurt in this directly so I doubt he will see much from it but I hope that he is forced to see the error of his ways and not only make amends to the African-American, Nigerian, Gay and Democratic parties but also to everyone that he claimed perpetrated these attacks against him. Then, and only then, do I think that this can possibly be used as a teaching experience.