Taraji P. Henson on Jussie Smollett's Alleged Attack: 'Hate Won't Win'
"Jussie is love. That's who he is," said Taraji P. Henson, who plays Jussie Smollett's mother on "Empire."
In Taraji P. Henson's first TV interview since her onscreen son, Jussie Smollett, was allegedly the victim of a hate crime, she declared: "Hate won't win."
Henson, who plays Cookie Lyon on "Empire," appeared on the "Today" show Monday to discuss the alleged attack on Smollett by two masked men in Chicago last week.
"Jussie is love. That's who he is. That's all he knows. In this situation, hate won't win. It will not," she said.
Smollett, who is gay and black, was allegedly attacked by two unidentified men who yelled out racial and homophobic slurs, police said. They then physically attacked him, poured an unknown chemical substance on him and put a rope around his neck, police said.
Authorities are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime. They released images of two potential persons of interest last week. No arrests have been made.
On Monday, Henson said, "I just told him, 'Just walk in your truth baby. No one can take that from you.'"
Smollett was showered with love as he appeared at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles Saturday night. It was his first public appearance since the alleged attack, and he addressed the crowd from the stage.
"There are so many words on my heart that I want to say," he said. "The most important that I can say, to keep it simple, thank you so much. I’m OK ... I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to. I’m going to stand strong with y’all."
He added, "Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love. I hope that you all stand with me."
He also set the record straight on what he said happened that night.
"I was bruised, but my ribs were not cracked. I went to the doctor immediately. I was not hospitalized," he said.
He added, "Above all, I fought the f*** back."
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