Appearing in public for the first time since he reported being attacked by two men in a possible hate crime last week, "Empire" star Jussie Smollett took the stage at the Troubadour in West Hollywood late Saturday for a scheduled concert he had refused to cancel.
NYDN reports he told the crowd, "I had to be here tonight, y'all. I couldn't let those (expletives) win." He went on to tell the crowd of 400, "I will always stand for love. I will only stand for love."
Smollett did say he was not yet fully healed, but that he would be, thanking fans for their support. "Thank you so much, and I'm okay," he reassured them.
He also took the opportunity to clear up some misunderstandings about the attack after a week in which he and his family both released statements asserting his story has never wavered. He clarified that while his ribs were bruised, none were broken; he said he was never actually hospitalized, but did see a doctor immediately; and, jokingly referring to himself as a "gay Tupac," he proudly told the audience that he "fought the f-ck back."
Smollett, who is black and gay, reported being attacked after leaving a Subway sandwich shop around 2 a.m. Tuesday by two white men in ski masks who allegedly pulled a noose around his neck, shouted racial and homophobic slurs, and poured an unknown chemical substance on him, as TMZ first reported. Chicago police have released images of two people seen near the site of the attack, saying they are persons of interest wanted for questioning.
"Extra" caught up with Jussie at TrevorLIVE in December, where he talked about concerns surrounding LGBTQ youth.