On Saturday (Feb. 2), "Empire" star Jussie Smollett returned to the stage at a Los Angeles club just days he was the victim in a physical assault that is currently being investigated as a possible hate crime.
"I had to be here tonight, y'all. I couldn't let those motherf**kers win," Smollett candidly told the crowd at West Hollywood's Troubadour. "So I will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than that. Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love."
According to the Associated Press, Smollett also went into more details about the attack, stating that he was never hospitalized following the attack, contrary to initial media reports, and that he didn't suffer crack ribs. Smollett was cleared to perform by doctors in both Los Angeles and Chicago, where the incident occurred, prior to Saturday night's show. "I'm okay," he said. " I'm not fully healed yet but I'm going to, and I'm going to stand strong with y'all." Prior to the show, Smollett's older brother Jake told fans he urged Jussie to cancel the show.
"If I'm honest, as his big brother, I wanted Jessie to sit this one out," Jake told the crowd of 400 people including Congresswoman Maxine Waters and "Empire" creator Lee Daniels. "I sincerely wanted him to stay out of the public until he heals. But after much debating, some arguing, and many tears, my family and I realized that tonight is an important part of Jussie's healing. You see he has been a fighter since he was a baby. He fought his attackers that night and he continues to fight."
Due to security concerns, the meet and greet scheduled to take place before the show was canceled. TMZ reports that fans were offered a refund for the meet and greet or the option to donate it to the Black AIDS Institute, an organization that Smollett currently holds a board member position.
Chicago detectives are still on the hunt for two unidentified men that allegedly yelled "racial and homophobic slurs" toward Smollett as the actor walked home from a Subway restaurant in Chicago, but are "making gains" in the case. "We are making gains in the investigation and hopefully we'll bring it to a successful resolution soon," Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Friday.