Although Jussie Smollett plays out R&B singer Jamal Lyon on Empire, he’s never publicly spoken about his own sexual orientation. Regardless, his co-star Malik Yoba decided to do so for him.
In an interview with BlackFilm.com, Yoba (who plays Empire chairman and Lyon family friend Vernon Turner) outed Smollett. During a discussion about homosexuality in the black community, Yoba stated:
I think that [Empire] represents a huge opportunity to stay in the culture beyond entertainment value and there’s an intrinsic nature of you have the gay factor, right? So, obviously, Lee [Daniels] is gay. That was an important storyline for him. I think it’s important for people to see themselves. Even within the Black community. But if you aren’t really, really taking it off of screen and making it live in the community in a significant way…like I know Jussie, he is gay, and he’s very committed to issues around the LGBT community. He and I have a very close relationship.
Despite his close relationship with his co-star, Yoba had no right to reveal Smollett’s personal business to the public without his consent. Who cares what the rest of the world assumes? Let Jussie choose whether or not to declare who he is, not that he should have to.
As of yet, Smollett has neither clarified or denied any of Yoba comments.
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