If you’ve been following Fox’s hit show “Empire,” then you know that the series touches on a little bit of everything. There’s drugs, sex, Hip Hop and, in the most compelling story, sexuality and homophobia.
We see that with Jamal Lyon’s character, played by Jussie Smollett. (Who just so happens to be actress Jurnee Smollett’s older brother.) On the show Jamal struggles with asserting his sexuality in the music industry and with his own father, Luscious Lyon, knowing he’s going to disapprove.
Being that Jussie Smollet is a new face in the game, people are wondering whether or not his personal life imitates his art.
When Smollett appeared on “Sway in The Morning,” co-host Tracy G told Smollett that people are dubbing him the Queen of gay, Black television because of Jamal’s storyline. Then Tracy asked if it was right for people to assume that that was his orientation.
And he said:
“No. But it’s also fair and I don’t see a problem with that and I don’t really care.”
Then we they asked him outright to confirm or deny, he said:
“I’m not willing to confirm or deny anything. I live my life. If someone’s looking for a box to put me in, then that’s not going to happen. But I live my life. If you really want to know about me, just watch because I don’t hide anything. I just choose not to talk about my personal life.”
But we didn’t have to wait long before the tea was spilled.
During another interview with Black Film, Jussie’s “Empire” co-star Malik Yoba made it plain. In explaining why the show is such a hit, Yoba said it’s because it tells the experiences of people who have been underrepresented in the media.
“I think that our show 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 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. There a lot of things that I’m doing. I have a company called iconic32.com. We create or enhance cultural movements for social good using pop culture.”
Well there you have it. I can understand Jussie deciding to keep his private life private; because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. The character and his acting skills are impeccable. But we’re all a little nosey and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to know. Apparently, Malik didn’t get the memo that he was supposed to keep Jamal’s love life out of the media. Ah well, he said he’s not hiding to hopefully, he won’t be too upset.