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Jussie Smollett plots comeback with film about queer love after hate crime hoax conviction

Maggie Baska May 27, 2022
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Jussie Smollett stares at the camera while wearing a white shirt and blue jacket as he stands in front of an orange background

BET Plus has picked up B-Boy Blues, an LGBTQ+ film written and directed by former Empire actor Jussie Smollett. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty)

Jussie Smollett is plotting a post-scandal comeback with his directorial debut, an LGBTQ+ film, set for release on BET’s streaming service. 

BET Plus has picked up B-Boy Blues – an LGBTQ+ movie written and directed by the disgraced former Empire star. Executive director Devin Griffin described the film as an “artful, heart-rending” movie about the “complexity of love”, which is “something we all can relate to”. 

B-Boy Blues represents the first project for Smollett since the actor was found guilty in December of staging a fake hate crime against himself. Smollett was sentenced in March to 150 days in jail, 30 months of probation and $145,000 in restitution and fines after being convicted on charges relating to the 2019 hate crime hoax. 

He served only six days in jail before he was released on bond as he appealed his conviction. 

Jussie Smollett has maintained that he is innocent of the charges against him and even released a song claiming that authorities “got the wrong one”.

B-Boy Blues will debut on BET’s streaming platform on 9 June – just in time for Pride Month – and is based on a novel of the same name by James Earl Hardy. The film follows two Black gay men in New York City as they find love and experience heart-rending tragedy.

 

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B-Boy Blues stars Timothy Richardson, Brandee Evans, Heater B, Marquise Vilson and Jabari Reed. It debuted last year at the 2021 American Black Film Festival and won the Narrative Feature Fan Favourite award, Variety reported. 

Mona Scott-Young and her Monami Entertainment joined the film as a producer as part of the BET Plus pickup. 

B-Boy Blues is a beautifully bold, funny, heartwarming bro-mance and I was thrilled to partner with Jussie to help this wonderful film gain greater exposure,” Young said. 

“Falling head over heels and fighting for love are universal emotions and experiences and we are so grateful to BET+ for shining a powerful spotlight on the still seriously underrepresented Black LGBTQ+ community and bringing this impactful love story to an even greater audience.”

In 2019, Jussie Smollett told police in Chicago, Illinois that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. He alleged two men confronted him, shouted hateful slurs at him and that one man wrapped a makeshift noose around his neck.

Jussie Smollett looks at the camera while wearing a light brown top and a patterned scarf around his neck
Jussie Smollett wrote and directed B-Boy Blues, a film that follows the lives of two gay Black men living in New York City. (Marcus Ingram/WireImage)

However, authorities later discovered that Smollett paid brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who worked as extras on Empire, to carry out the attack. 

Abimbola, also known as “Bola”, testified before the court in December that Smollett told him that he “wanted me to fake beat him up”. He said he was initially “confused” by the actor’s request but followed through with it because he believed Smollett could “help further my acting career”. 

The prosecutors charged the ex-Empire actor with disorderly conduct in connection to the hate crime hoax, and Smollett pleaded not guilty before he was convicted. 

 

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