Attending the BET Awards was an easy decision for Jussie Smollett.
via: New York Post
Fallen “Empire” star Jussie Smollett has defiantly declared he’s “not a piece of s – – t” after “gaining clarity” during his recent mini prison stint — but many viewers of the 2022 BET Awards aren’t ready to let him off the hook just yet.
Smollett, 40, made his controversial return to the red carpet Sunday at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater — after being sprung in March, having served only six days of his 150-day sentence for five counts of felony disorderly conduct at Cook County Jail in Chicago.
The 2015 BET nominee for best actor was ostensibly there to hype his directorial debut, the BET+ streaming flick “B-Boy Blues” — but he announced some other big plans, too.
“This has always been the plan, to expand my empire, so to speak,” Smollett expounded to the press corps on the scene, the Daily Mail reported. “To expand the level of what I want to do. I got to direct multiple episodes of the show as well as my music videos, I directed all of them.”
And despite his high-profile fall from grace — he was convicted of paying two men to pretend to be racist, homophobic supporters of former president Donald Trump and attack him with a noose and bleach — Smollett still seems to consider himself something of a role model for young people.
“But to be able to usher in just a new generation of artists, of actors of this amazing talent that’s out there that has so much to tell you,” Smollett told reporters. “That’s what is feeding me.”
Alas, Smollett’s comeback project, “B-Boy Blues” — an adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s novel — premiered June 9 on the streaming platform BET+. It’s being billed as his feature directorial debut after helming two episodes of his prior series, Lee Daniels’ “Empire,” back in 2018.
The actor-singer and former “Mighty Ducks” child star — who played Jamal Lyon on Fox’s “Empire” from 2015 until he was let go amid public backlash in 2019 — also promised his fans he “absolutely” intends to drop some “very, very good music very soon.”
In an interview with Sway Calloway’s SiriusXM show, “Sway in the Morning” last week, Smollett — who is currently appealing his conviction — maintained his innocence, insisting he did not lie about the attack.
“If I had done this, I’d be a piece of s – – t — and I don’t think that’s really questionable,” Smollett told Sway, adding that being a black gay man makes it impossible for him to stage the attack. “If I had done something like this, it would mean that I stuck my fist in the pain of black African Americans in this country for over 400 years.”
Many social media watchdogs weren’t immediately feeling it, with thousands of people turning him into a trending topic on Twitter, expressing everything from general disbelief to outright outrage.
— ???? (@itskinjj) June 26, 2022
That’s crazy how Jussie Smollett is out & about, showing his face like that situation never happened. https://t.co/XE9BifUana
— Brandon (@thepizzapopo_) June 26, 2022
Jayda, Ari, Dess, and Lakeyah look a mess everyone on that red carpet looked a mess and why TF is Jussie Smollett there?! Lmao the BET awards makes me cringe
— A Vibe (@Kiyonta_Nechole) June 26, 2022
Who let Jussie Smollet into the #BETAwards ? This nigga faked a hate crime and blamed white people for it, and got a slap on the wrist. If you got money, regardless of race, you have privilege.
— BabaBlackSheep (@BabaBla47602512) June 26, 2022
— Mr. Sneaker Head ? (@RonnieThaGreat) June 26, 2022
— Eradicator's Pet??????~Maza-chan?? (@sleepymaserati) June 27, 2022
Lordddd they let jussie smollett on the bet awards. How embarrassing ?
— Bre (@breshanice) June 26, 2022
jussie smollett on BET red carpet pic.twitter.com/mLNRpMPeRF
— spy x family stan account (@eyoncexknowles) June 27, 2022
Jussie smollett pulling up to Bet awards on pride weekend no fucks given like he didn’t just stage a fake hate crime ? this mf foul lmao pic.twitter.com/nUZtQ09wyA
— TENNISXCLUB (@tennisxclub) June 27, 2022