Television April 23, 2019
Toby Onwumere Opens Up About Jussie Smollett Ahead of Their On-Screen 'Empire' Wedding
This week's episode of “Empire” will be historic, as Kai (Toby Onwumere) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) are set to walk down the aisle, marking the first black gay wedding on TV.
“Extra's” Tanika Ray caught up with Toby to talk about his embattled co-star Jussie, and what is sure to be an iconic on-screen moment.
Jussie was accused of paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage an attack on himself in Chicago back in January, then lying to police about it. All 16 felony charges were dropped, and Jussie has always maintained his innocence. Now, the city of Chicago has filed a civil suit against Smollett in hopes of recouping the costs of the investigation. In addition, the two brothers have now filed a defamation lawsuit against Jussie's attorneys.
The legal trouble has led to rumors that Jussie could be leaving “Empire.” Tanika asked Toby about a rumor that Kai and Jamal “will get married and ride off into the sunset.” Toby replied, “Look, I am the last person they tell… I have no idea, so we're waiting to see.”
Has he talked to Jussie? “Oh, yeah, I've talked to him, and he's doing well.”
As for how the cast is handling everything, Onwumere said, “It's family business, so we're all just coming together and supporting one another.”
The star added, “We're just excited for everybody to see the last couple of episodes of the season.”
Toby said of the wedding episode, “The influence of 'Empire' still extends out well beyond America and it's culturally relevant and I really appreciate the show for that. In its fifth year, it's still going — as evidence to the wedding that's going on, it's still culturally relevant, so I think it's beautiful.”
He continued, “I think it's different than what we've seen in past seasons of 'Empire,' which is a breath of fresh air… I really love what Kai and Jamal have. I think it's beautiful.”
Becky aka Gabourey Sidibe will officiate the nuptials and Chaka Khan will perform!
The episode airs April 24 at 8 p.m. on FOX.