Jussie Smollett is not alone. A number of celebrities and dignitaries are standing in solidarity with the beleaguered “Empire” star and against the twin social evils of police brutality and White nationalism that have reared their heads in 2020.
A prominent group of supporters has formed a protective wall around Smollett, who faces felony charges and a lawsuit for allegedly fabricating a story that he was beaten during a racist and homophobic attack in January 2019. This group includes Lethal Weapon franchise actor Danny Glover, 74; former Black Panther Party leaders Angela Davis, 76, and Ericka Huggins; Black Lives Matter c0-founder Melina Abdullah; iconic actor Harry Belefonte’s daughter Gina, and other actors, authors and activists who have signed a public letter on behalf of Smollett.
In the open letter, Smollett’s high-profile supporters assert that the Chicago Police Department has a long history of corruption and racial terror against the Black community, including the infamous killing of former Black Panther leader Fred Hampton Sr. in his home and the alleged torture of hundreds of Black detainees over the years. The group also says the police department has engaged in corruption and a cover-up in its investigation of Smollett.
“We, the undersigned, appeal to you to join us as we stand in solidarity with artist and activist Jussie Smollett,” the letter begins according to The Grio and Yahoo.com.
“As we focus on keeping our loved ones and those most socially vulnerable safe and healthy during these times of COVID-19 and of White nationalism in the White House, we remain painfully aware of the police crimes that continue to plague our communities, having claimed precious lives in the last months.”
Smollett, 38, who hails from Santa Rosa, California, about 60 miles north of San Francisco, told police in late January 2019 that he was attacked in Chicago. The actor said two men wearing MAGA hats beat him while pouring a corrosive liquid on his head, throwing a noose around his neck and shouting epithets at him.
Flip the page to read more of the letter.