ON THE SCENE WITH Crystal Chanel and Audrey Aaron
On Tuesday night, January 28, actor/singer, Jussie Smollett was attacked as he was leaving a Chicago restaurant. Smollet is best known for his role as Jamal Lyons on the FOX hit drama series, Empire, where he plays an openly gay character. Smollett came out publicly as a gay man in 2015 on the Ellen Show, and the unfortunate incident that occurred can only be described as racist and homophobic. According to several reports, he was brutally attacked by white men wearing ski masks, who recognized him shouting “Aren’t you that faggot Empire nigger?” The attackers allegedly put a rope around his neck, beat him so badly as to break one of his ribs, and poured bleach on him as they proceeded to berate him with racist and gender offensive slurs. They eventually left yelling “This is MAGA Country!” referring to Donald Trump’s right wing 2016 presidential campaign slogan: Make America Great Again. According to TMZ, Smollett had received an anti-gay death threat just one week prior but declined FOX’s offer to provide him with a 24/7 security detail.
Immediately after word of the attack reached the public, a wave of support from fellow actors and entertainers, radio personalities, and droves of fans bombarded every imaginable timeline with their love, concern, and support. CEO of Press Release Marketing, Crystal Chanel, joined by popular South Florida Chef, Kiara Hardy (aka Kitchen Killa), appeared on Facebook Live to discuss the matter. In a lighthearted, but informative conversation, Chef Kiara explained why she is not fan of the term “homophobic” as it suggests a fear of gay people, when it’s often so clear that hatred and ignorance are at the root of this violent behavior, not fear. Chef Kiara is a strong and consistent advocate for the LGBTQ Community and took to her own social media to express her disdain around the Smollett attack, and to reinforce the need for Gay/Straight Alliances, stating that the behavior is not simply sad, it’s intolerable. Chef Hardy just recently teamed up with Front of the House, a premiere plating company out of Miami, Fla to host an intimate fundraiser brunch where all proceeds went directly to Pridelines, a non-profit organization offering safe environments for all LGBTQ youth, adults, and allies.
The Smollett Family issued an official statement a few days after the incident: “We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime… these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall.” Filled with obvious emotion, his family describes Jussie as a light that cannot be dimmed. He proved this to be true when he returned to the stage with remarkable resilience for a live performance in West Hollywood, CA on Saturday night, just 4 days after the attack. He quickly clarified details surrounding the incident, telling the audience that he was badly bruised, but his ribs were neither cracked nor broken. Also, he was not technically hospitalized, but he did go straight to a doctor afterward. Still, he did not downplay any of the racial or anti-gay implications of the attack, and he fully supports law officials investigating the activity as a hate crime.
Smollett reassured his fans that he was fully cleared for that night’s performance and was focused on love being the source of his energy and the intent of his words. “I’m not fully healed yet,” he shared. “But I’m going to be, and I’m gonna stand strong with y’all. The hateful rhetoric that gets passed around, it must stop. But guess what? It stops with the people who believe in love.” Our prayers and love are with Jussie Smollett and so many other nameless, faceless victims of this brand of hatred.
Press Release Marketing Writing Team Lead Audrey L. Aaron
@PressReleaseLLC on Instagram