Jussie covers ‘Out magazine…
Here is portion of the interview:
One: When and how would he officially, publicly be ready to talk about his sexual orientation?
And two: How would he use this new, huge platform to raise his voice against injustice, to say unequivocally that black lives matter?
There was basically full support to say or not say whatever he wanted about his orientation. He was playing a gay character on an acclaimed show created by an outspoken gay man. But there was also Taraji P. Henson’s perspective, per Smollett: “She said, ‘Who gives a fuck? I don’t tell these motherfuckers that I’m straight. Why the fuck do you have to tell them that you’re gay?’ That was so O.G., and it just made me love her even more.”
Last March, Smollett was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I was like two months deep into this fame thing,” he says. He wasn’t going to say he was gay. He’d come out to his parents at 19. Jamal was on TV every week. He didn’t need to tell the world.
“The second you say something, they want that to be your storyline forever,” he says. “That narrative doesn’t interest me at all.”
Plus, “If people really looked,” he says, they’d know he’d already played gay — including in sex scenes that made Empire’s own boundary-breaking scenes look tame — in a 2012 Patrik-Ian Polk indie film, The Skinny. Five years before, a French magazine had flat-out asked if he was gay, and he’d said yes. He had a giant equal sign tattooed on one arm, which was on full display in Empire.
Instead, he sang a song from the show and told DeGeneres how he handled negative tweets about Jamal’s coming out. The interview wrapped. They stood up and hugged, and he said, “I was ready to talk about it,” had she asked. “She told me, ‘You don’t have to.’ I will be forever grateful to Ellen for the kindness she showed me. And that made me want to talk about it.”
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