Jussie Smollett was arrested in February on charges of filing a false police report after Chicago officers concluded the actor likely staged a highly publicized hate crime against himself. Many have criticized the Empire star, but he does have a few notable names in his corner, including Queen Latifah.
The Oscar-nominated actress spoke to Yahoo News about the complicated case, saying Smollett has always been a stand-up individual.
“The guy I’ve seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who’s very kind and who’s always been cool and sweet. And that’s just the guy I know. So until I can see some definitive proof—which I haven’t seen yet—then, you know, I gotta go with him until I see otherwise.”
Latifah’s sentiments echo those of Tyler Perry, who
“I have personally spoken to Jussie, and he is adamant that he’s telling the truth,” Perry said. “Also, everyone that I know who knows him says that he is not the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing. Yet the evidence seems to state otherwise. I’m lost for words. To stoke fears and raise racial tensions is wrong in every situation on all sides. Yet my prayers are still with him and his family and our Nation. Can we please stop the hate?”
If found guilty, Smollett could face up to three years in prison and substantial fines.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.