Actress Jurnee Smollett is opening up about her brother Jussie, who has maintained his innocence after being accused of staging a hate crime last year.
“Extra’s” Cheslie Kryst spoke with Jurnee, who discussed the recent Black Lives Matter protests she attended with Jussie and her HBO show “Lovecraft Country.”
“Lovecraft Country,” a sci-fi series from creators Jordan Peele and Misha Green, takes place in the 1950s, when Jim Crow laws were enforced across the American South. It centers on Atticus, a young black man played by Jonathan Majors, on a road trip to New England in search of his father. Smollett plays Letitia, his friend.
After mentioning how timely the show is for its focus on racism, Kryst asked Smollett if she thought the changes happening in the U.S. will be lasting. Jurnee said, “I am encouraged by what I’m witnessing… and this movement really is living at the intersection of all people.”
Jurnee also expressed how “absolutely” proud she is of Jussie for using his voice during these times. She shared, “The thing that my mom raised us to believe is you do the work and no one sees… My brothers and I went to one of the largest protests here in L.A. Jussie, Jake, and some of our friends… saying enough is enough, and I think we've just got to continue to show up.”
“I mean, my mom had us out in the streets… protesting the Rodney King situation when the officers were acquitted… It's where I come from, it's who my mom is. My mom and dad met each other in the civil rights movement,” Smollett continued. “Her philosophy is: The greatest among us are those who serve… My grandmother was one who cleaned homes of white folks, and she wouldn’t allow them to rob her of her dignity… and so my mom would have us, like, clean the hotel room before the cleaning lady would come in… The spirit of service — that’s my mom.”
Season 1 of "Lovecraft Country" streams on HBO August 16.