Former Empire star Jussie Smollett has emerged in a new video posted online with the actor speaking out against domestic violence and encouraging people to stay at home. Last year, Smollett made headlines when he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime with investigators alleging he'd made the whole story up. Public opinion on Smollett has mostly been on the negative side ever since, but Smollett is looking past it all with a new video posted online advocating for the prevention of domestic violence. You can watch it below.
In the video clip, Jussie Smollett speaks directly into the camera about what's been happening with the world in recent weeks, personally thanking healthcare workers and going on to highlight two organizations the actor says are near and dear to his heart. "In our communities, we've got to remember that our other health issues have not gone away, and if anything, have been magnified through this," Smollett explains in the video. He then shouts out the Jenesse Center, an LA-based domestic violence intervention program. "Women and children are some of the most vulnerable right now," Smollett says, noting stay-at-home orders may lead to an increase in domestic violence.
"I'm also supporting the Black AIDS Institute, who I've been involved with since I was 15 years old," Smollett also states in the video, providing links to both organizations' Instagram accounts in the caption. The former Empire actor goes on to add that the program will help anyone in need of medical assistance, be it AIDS or other reasons, and nobody will be turned away if they're unable to pay for help. Closing out the video, Smollett also adds: "I know it's the strangest of times, but if we are vigilant, aware, protective, and loving of all of our sisters, brothers, and non-gender conforming siblings, we can get through this together."
Some might say that it's ironic for Smollett to appear in a PSA speaking out against violence of any kind, given his controversial history. To briefly rehash the story, the fiasco first began when Jussie Smollett made claims he was assaulted by two unidentified men using racial and homophobic slurs. Police later identified the men as a pair of brothers who'd worked with Smollett on Empire, and with their cooperation, investigators determined Smollett had staged the assault by paying the men to go along with the story. Smollett maintained he was telling the truth, but the situation led to his removal from Empire and a mountain of legal trouble the actor is still facing over a year later.
Still, regardless of how some of us might feel about the Jussie Smollett incident from last year, his Instagram post can be seen as a good thing if it helps bring awareness to the organizations linked by Smollett. To read more about the mentioned domestic violence intervention program, you can visit the official website for the Jenesse Center. You can also find more about the other cause by checking out the Black AIDS Institute official website. The video of Smollett shown above comes to us from Jussie Smollett on Instagram.