It was confirmed that on the morning of Feb. 21, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett surrendered himself into Chicago Police custody, where he was convicted of one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He has been released on a $10,000 bond.
If you have access to television or the internet, by now you must have heard about the Jussie Smollett case. If you haven’t I’ll give you a brief summary of the situation in question.
On Jan. 29, Smollett had reported to the Chicago Police Department that he was beaten, insulted with racial slurs, had his neck tied in a noose and had a mysterious substance poured on him by MAGA (Make America Great Again) supporters shortly after his arrival in Chicago. Smollett also reported that he was sent a threatening letter about a week prior to the beating, to “Empire’s” recording studio stating, “You will die black fag.”
The claims were proven false after an intense police investigation in which they found out that Smollett had sent the threatening letter to himself and paid two brothers by the names of Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 to perform the heinous crime. They were later released without any charges.
Jussie claimed that his reasoning behind the staged attack was because he was being underpaid for his role as Jamal in “Empire,” and he felt like if he catered to the “racially unstable” part of America, that he would get more support and in return, get more fame and money.
Overall, I honestly don’t know what to really make of this so far, let me tell you why.
I have been a fan of the show “Empire” since it first aired in 2015. Jamal’s character on the show held so much meaning and power to me because of the fact that he was not only of minority race but he is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community on screen and in real life. He related so much of his own personal story to that of his character Jamal, and I really respected that.
In a way, it is like a slap in the face to everyone who had previously supported him in his career because if it wasn’t for the chances he was given in life in the movie and music industry, he wouldn’t have fans. If he didn’t have fans, he would not have become famous.
What my question to him would be, “Why did you do it?” Because sure, he said that all he wanted was a little pay raise, but if he really wanted that, wouldn’t there have been another way to go about doing that? Instead he could have used his platform to speak up about how there is still inequality when considering wages, and how people of minority races are still being underpaid especially when “Empire” is mostly consisted of an all-African American cast. Instead, he took his fame and fortune for granted, setting his community back.
It is already bad enough that black people are always pointing the finger at one another instead of putting aside our differences as individuals and coming together as a strong nation. In this case, I hope that Smollett does get sent to prison and does real time like anyone else who commits a crime. However, bear in mind that there have been worse cases like these where certain people have gotten a slap on the wrist instead of doing the time behind bars as they so rightly deserve. Hopefully, skin color and race will not be a factor here and it will be a fair trial.
It has been released that Smollett will also have to appear back in court for his sentencing hearing on March 14th. Only time will tell whether or not America will forgive Smollett of his crimes and how we as American citizens can take what happened and learn from his mistakes. They say money is the root of all evil, but I think what happened here was way more in depth than just a money problem.