CHICAGO (CBS) — “Empire” star Jussie Smollett took to the concert stage in Los Angeles this weekend in his first public appearance since his reported attack in Chicago last week. He told fans he wanted to clarify a few things, and assure them he will be okay.
“I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to [be], and I’m gonna stand strong with y’all,” he said.
Fans lined up around the block to see Smollett on Saturday. He told them he was bruised, but his ribs were neither cracked nor broken, and that he went to a doctor immediately after the attack, but wasn’t 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 f*** back,” he said. “I’m the gay Tupac.”
He said he’s told police everything about the incident, and his story hasn’t changed.
Smollett also told police the attackers allegedly yelled, “This is MAGA country,” referring to President Donald Trump’s slogan.
The 36-year-old actor and singer is gay and plays a homosexual character on “Empire,” which is filmed in Chicago.
Smollett’s older brother joined him on stage at Saturday’s concert, and said at first he thought the concert was not a good idea.
“After much debating, some arguing, and many tears, my family and I realize that tonight is an important part of Jussie’s healing,” Jake Smollett said.
Chicago police have released surveillance video images of two “potential persons of interest” wanted for questioning in the case. The video does not depict an assault, police said, but the people are “seen in the vicinity of the alleged criminal incident during the alleged time of occurrence.”
Detectives are working the incident as a possible hate crime.
Sources said Smollett left the rope on his neck roughly 45 minutes until police arrived. But the alleged attacked is not captured on the hundreds of surveillance videos the 12 detectives assigned to the case have poured through.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said there is no indication Smollett is not telling the truth and he is hopeful for an arrest.
“The crime as reported to us is horrendous,” Johnson said. “It’s a cowardly act, and there’s just no place for that in, not just this city, but in this country.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Area Central Detectives at (312)747-8380 or reach out anonymously at www.cpdtip.com.