(www.BlacksinHollywood.com) – Jussie Smollett, the break-out star of the new primetime soap opera “Empire,” angered critics by refusing to admit he was gay. It was an ironic twist because he portays a gay character on the show. Many have called the show the first Black gay primetime show since there have been several incidents with homosexual and lesbian sex.
Perhaps holding out for a bigger “tell all” paycheck, Smollett appeared on Ellen Show and said, “There’s never been a closet,” meaning he was never hiding his sexuality, but already #BlackTwitter is sounding off saying that Smollett was in fact hiding.
Gay advocates were also growing impatient with Smollett and applied pressure for him to publicly come out. He was already popular in their community with movies like “The Skinny” but the gay community wanted more of an affirmation.
“There’s never been a closet. That I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet, but I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home. So that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear, but it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that’s where I’m at,” he said.
“So, let’s not read into it in the wrong way when I say that I don’t talk about my personal life, I’m saying that. But it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. You know? My mama knows. My mama likes me a lot. And, yes, I take her to the Sound of Music sing-along every single year. So, any questions? But honestly, we’re human and we love and we do all that good stuff. So I’m honored for this opportunity and I’m honored to be here with you.”
“I’m not willing to confirm or deny anything. I live my life. If someone is looking for a box to put me in, that’s not going to happen,” he said. “I live my life, and if you really want to know about me, just watch, because I don’t hide anything. I just don’t choose to talk about my personal life.”
Smollett’s co-star Malik Yoba made headlines when several media outlets and fans accused him of inadvertently outing the actor during an interview so perhaps Smollett made the decision to spare his co-workers from having to lie to the press.
Either way, the cat is out of the bag. Hopefully, he feels relief.
Read the full transcript of the conversation below:
Ellen: I’m sitting here with Jussie because we just filmed the show and I’m about to tape another show right now. And before I walked out you knocked on the door and said I’d like to talk to you. So this is why we’re here.
Jussie: Well, no. It was very, very important to me that, as my first performance and talk show that it was with you. You’ve been such an inspiration to so many, but also to me. What you’ve done with, in the LGBT community is very much in my opinion kind of like what Michael Jackson did with the black community just that you are who you are. And he was just Michael and you’re just Ellen so it was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet. There’s never been a closet. That I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet, but I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home.
Jussie: So that’s why I choose not to talk bout my personal life. But there is without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear, but it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that’s where I’m at.
Ellen: Well thanks.
Jussie: And I’m such a fan, but also so inspired.
Ellen: Thank you so much. Because I think when I brought up the fact that your character came out and we talked about it and you were expressing yourself I think a lot of people are still questioning and when we finished the show they were like is he, isn’t he? And listen, I think the most important thing is talent the most important thing is what we do. And we don’t want anything to get in the way of that.
Jussie: I agree. Absolutely.
Ellen: But there are questions out there so I think that’s why it was my responsibility to at least give you the opportunity. And I am so proud of you that you say there is no closet there never has been a closet. You’ve never pretending to be anything that you aren’t.
Jussie: Ever, ever. So lets not read into it the wrong when I say that I don’t talk about my personal life, I’m saying that. But it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. Ya know?
Jussie: My mama knows. My Mama likes me a lot. And yes I take her to the Sound of Music sing-along every, single year. So, any questions? But you know, honestly, we’re humans and we love and we do all that good stuff. So I’m honored for this opportunity, and I am honored to be here with you.
Ellen: Good. I’m proud of you. And I think, first of all, I think the show is a huge platform for a lot of people, and I think there are so many stereotypes and judgments and the fact that you’re shattering that by the role you’re playing and the strength you have to come out and talk about it and represent. I’m proud of you.
Jussie: Thank you so much.
Ellen: All right. Well good I’m glad we got a chance to talk. Now I go do another show.
Jussie: Boom! Now you don’t even gotta ask no more.
Ellen: You don’t have to ask anymore.
Jussie: I told Ellen. Who else do I need to tell?
Ellen: That’s it.