“There would be no reason for me to do some dumb corny s*** like that…”

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Jussie Smollett made his first interview appearance since doing jail time for his highly publicized hate crime hoax trial and things appear to be on the up for him–even if he’s still facing criticism from former friends and detractors.

BET+ recently picked up the actor’s directorial debut film, “B-Boy Blues,” a romantic drama that follows two men from different worlds as they fall in love.

This week, Smollett stopped by Sway In the Morning to share more about the new film, and how he’s been adjusting to life in the aftermath of the case. According to the Chicago native, he’s never felt “more clear” since his release.

” I’ve never felt healthier and more grateful. I’ve never felt more blessed than I feel now…. I’m still, you know, still dealing with things,” Smollett told the show’s host Sway Calloway. “I’m not shy to say that I am in therapy, as we all should be because of a lot of stuff that happened over the last three years. You gotta be able to train your mind and not just train your body to be healthy and to be beautiful….”

On Mar. 16, The Mighty Ducks star was released from Cook County jail after an appeals court granted a motion allowing him to remain out of prison as he waits for an appeal of his conviction.

As previously reported, the 39-year-old celeb was convicted of disorderly conduct after he was accused of staging a hate crime against himself in 2019 and was ordered to serve 150 days in jail. The actor was also ordered to pay more than $120,000 in restitution to the city of Chicago for the alleged hoax.

Smollett Says He Can Understand Why People “Operating Off Fear” Didn’t Believe Him, Mentions Lee Daniels & Don Lemon

When Sway asked the NAACP Image Award recipient how he dealt with public ridicule from family and close friends like Don Lemon and  Lee Daniels who didn’t believe his story, Smollett said he could “understand why people felt betrayed.”

If you remember, Lee Daniels publically stated that he was “beyond embarrassed” for believing Smollett after officials accused him of orchestrating the attack. He later said that he was “confused” and added that “he had to believe that boy [Jussie]” because he loves him. As for Don Lemon, the CNN anchor also condemned Jussie for his alleged “lies.”

Jussie told Sway In The Morning that people who knew him should have called him.

“From LD [Lee Daniels] to Don, I still got love for y’all. Because whatever they thought they thought and whatever, the way that it was served, it was served,” Smollett said. “But that is also, I didn’t know what was happening then. I didn’t know how I, I didn’t know how bad it was getting. And I also didn’t think for whatever reason, I genuinely thought that people were gonna be like, ‘there’s no way that he did some bullsh*t like that.’ I’m just like, ‘y’all know me, like y’all know that….’ And I’m thinking, oh, what people’s history should mean something… I do hold some people accountable for the things that they said for the things that they did for the ways that they reacted. Because half of those people should have picked up the f*cking phone and called me, because they had my number, you know, and they didn’t.

But I also understand that we sometimes operate off of fear and that when you are, when you’re kind of, you know, the whole mission is to alienate you so that everybody so that you are such, you are so just like vibrating in the wrong way. And like all the s*** around you is just wrong. That people just have to step back.

But I don’t mind, I don’t hold the people to anything that step back I hold the people that went out there and said s*** I hold them to something. And not the people that don’t know me. But the people that do know me, f***k outta here. Y’all know better than that. And y’all did that. That was some PR bulls***. And you know who you are and I will not name names, and I love everybody, but I don’t like everybody.”

Smollett Says He Didn’t Need A Rise In His Career

Jussie doubled down on his innocence on Sway In The Morning and said his career was on the rise at the time.” I’m not that motherf***er, never have been,” said the actor.

“If I had done something like this, it would mean that I stuck my fist in the pain of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years. We’re not even talking about in Africa. Cause that’s an old, that’s an even deeper, larger conversation. It would mean that I stuck my fist in the fears of the LGBTQ community, all over the world. I’m not that motherf***r, never have been.”

“Don’t need to be, didn’t need to have a, some sort of rise in his career. I was on the up and up. I was coming from New York from doing a table read for my dream role in a Broadway show. I had just optioned the rights to the autobiography, the authorized autobiography of Alvin Ailey. I had just all of these things that I was creating, there would be no reason for me to do some dumb corny shit like that. But people are looking to believe what they believe. And what I have to do is I have to keep working. And what I know for sure is every single thing that I auditioned for during that period, I lost, they took it from me. But every single thing that I created myself is being created. Never again, will anybody be able to pull my life from under me like a rug.”


On How He Made It Through Jail Time

Smollett only spent 6 and a half days behind bars but he learned a lot during his brief stint in jail. The star revealed that he fasted for the entire duration of his stay.

“I was fasting because that’s what we do in my family. Like we fast for, for clarity for, I have never in my life, at least in my adult life been as clear of mind as I was for those six and a half days. And it was almost like when they told me that I was getting out, what I was doing is I was fasting until I found out whether or not I was gonna be in there for those five and a half months. I just wanted to know what my life was about to look like. So, I was fasting, getting, and I had been prepping, you know, my, my family, most wonderful human beings. I live and die for them….So being, being behind bars, I fasted for six and a half days and there was a part where they told me that I was getting out. I, Lord knows I wanted to get out. I’m in the f****g psych ward.”

Jussie Smollett Said He Never Wanted To Do That 2019 ABC Interview With Robin Roberts

The North alum also opened up about the embarrassment he felt following the release of his 2019 interview special with Robin Roberts. Smollett said he “cringed” after he watched the segment because he felt like it was “performative.”


Jussie Smollett

Source: Cindy Ord / Getty

He also explained that the segment misrepresented how he wanted to be portrayed for LQBTQ victims of abuse.

 “Do you understand the emotional, like the discipline that it takes to, how many videos I have in my phone from February of 2019, where I’m just going off and I’m just like, ‘this is bullsh*t and y’all know what this is. Why are y’all f***g falling for the banana and the tailpipe in this way. I know that it’s like, why now? Why is this so easy to believe?’ And, but then of course, then you send it to your people and they’re like, ‘don’t, don’t put that out. Don’t you’re too, you’re too angry. You’re too defensive. You’re too this.’ But looking back, there’s a part of me that wishes that I had done, what I wanted to do of going out there. I didn’t wanna do an interview. You know what I’m saying? And I don’t wanna get too deep, you know, because I love and respect Robin Roberts, you know what I’m saying? But I did not want to do that interview. That interview wasn’t for me, that was for my character…. Just meaning that God, how deep do I get, if I’m gonna get deep, I might as well get deep with my family. Yeah. I have to be very, very honest here in that I wanted to, I found myself, you know, I hadn’t watched the interview at all. I hadn’t watched the interview at all until we were on trial and I had to watch it because they were trying to use the interview as evidence of lies or whatever. So, I had to watch it and I watched it and I was mortified.


I mean, I was mortified. I mean, I cringed at just the, every single word that I said in that interview was the truth, but there was a certain level of performative nature that came from it because I didn’t want to be there. And I was so angry and so offended that I had to go on national television and explain something that happened to me. And it was so political, and it was all of those things. And I found myself dealing with my own internalized homophobia. As an openly gay black man who leads with his blackness, I found myself dealing with that. And I’m embarrassed. And I’m a little bit ashamed to say that, meaning that I wanted to, I wanted to represent all of us that had been assaulted based on who we are. But for the people that didn’t have the platform that I had, I wanted to say all of the things that people should hear from people who have been through this. But I also didn’t wanna be associated with people who had been attacked.”


There’s LOTS to unpack here, at another point in the interview he praised Taraji P. Henson for being one of the few people in Hollywood to remain loyal to him.

Watch Jussie Smollet on Sway In The Morning below.



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