February 1, 2019 at 3:20 pm EST | by Mariah Cooper
Jussie Smollett speaks publicly about brutal attack
Jussie Smollett (Screenshot via Twitter.)

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett issued his first statement on Friday about the homophobic and racist attack he suffered in Chicago on Tuesday.

“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett said in a statement to ESSENCE. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words. ”

“I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served,” he continued. “As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me.”

On Thursday, Smollett’s family issued a statement saying, “We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice.”

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Because there’s a light in him that cannot be dimmed, because we are a family of joyful warriors, we will not let this get the best of us. Although this is a picture from happier times, this is the spirit to which we chose to move forward…they will not steal, our joy. ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽 ________________________________________________________Statement from our family: “ In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world. With love & gratitude, The Smollett Family”

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The Chicago Police Department are currently investigating “persons of interest” captured on surveillance camera footage.

Some reports stated that Smollett, who said he was on the phone with his manager during the time of the attack, refused to turn over his phone records. Sources told TMZ that Smollet only declined to hand over his phone to police when he was “informally asked.” Smollett is now in the process of providing the phone records to police.

The FBI is also investigating due to a letter with white powder which was delivered to Cinespace Studios, the set of “Empire,” on Jan. 22. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CNN that the white powder was aspirin. Investigations into the letter are still underway.

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