Jussie Smollett appears on stage days after apparent hate crime attack


(JTA) — Jussie Smollett told an audience in southern California that he is “going to stand strong with y’all” in the wake of an assault that is being characterized as a hate crime.

Smollet, who is black, gay and Jewish, took the stage Saturday night at the Troubadour in West Hollywood in his first public appearance since the Tuesday night attack in Chicago.

“The most important thing I can say is ‘thank you so much, and I’m OK,’” Smollett, best known for his work on the show “Empire,” said from the stage, the Associated Press reported. He said that he is not fully healed yet.

Smollett, the son of a Jewish father and African-American mother, was exiting a restaurant when two men approached him. The Chicago Police Department reported they “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him.” They then proceeded to attack Smollett, pouring an “unknown chemical substance” on him and wrapping a rope around his neck.

Smollet’s family had urged him to cancel the concert. “I had to be here tonight, y’all. I couldn’t let those (expletives) win,” he said.

The actor and R&B singer made his first public comments about the attack on Friday, responding to social media accusations that he had changed his story to police several times. Smollett said in the statement that he had been “consistent on every level” during the investigation, which Chicago police echoed.

No one has been arrested in the attack.

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