Empire star Jussie Smollett refused white boyfriend plot
Empire star Jussie Smollett rejected a plan to give a character on the show a white boyfriend.
Smollett plays gay musician Jamal Lyon on the Fox drama series Empire, which is in its fifth season.
In an interview on SiriusXM’s The Clay Cane Show on Thursday, Smollett revealed that producers had proposed plot arcs where his character dates a white man.
“There was talk about Jamal having a white boyfriend and I said, ‘F**k no!’”
The Empire actor said that he has always refused, adding: “There was talk about Jamal having a white boyfriend and I said, ‘F**k no!’”
Smollett said: “Not for any reason except we have a responsibility and we have a such a beautiful opportunity to show two black men in a relationship together, in a healthy relationship.
“It was important to say, and that wasn’t anything against white men. It was just a thing of, ‘no, no, no… this is what I hope, this what I want to see, this what I wished I had seen as a kid,’ because if I had seen certain things as an adolescent I would have had a much different understanding of who I am in an earlier space.
“I do think that is important to show.”
The actor added that it was important to show black men in stable, romantic relationships rather than purely sexualised ones.
Empire star Jussie Smollett praises Moonlight
He explained: “We are such a sex driven society, and the reason the people don’t like something is because they associate it with sex.
“To me, with [the Oscar-winning Barry Jenkins film] Moonlight… the reason why I love that movie so much was because it was not overly sexualised, it was beautiful, it was tender. It wasn’t about sexuality, it was about masculinity, and the rules put on little boys, and specifically little black boys.
“It’s about the rules that are put on people, before you even know what sexuality or sexual orientation is.”
Jussie Smollett spoke about his own sexuality in 2015
Jussie Smollett publicly came out in 2015 in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
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He said:: “It was really important to make sure that it got across that there is no closet. There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet.
“I have a home and that is my responsibility, to protect that home. So that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is without a doubt no closet that I’ve ever been in.
“When I say that I don’t talk about my personal life, it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me.
“My mama knows. My mama likes me a lot. I take her to the Sound of Music sing-along every single year.”
He later added: “I told Ellen. Who else do I need to tell?”