Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty
  /  04.18.2022

"Bridgerton," Jussie Smollett's new song and more in Black entertainment


“REVOLT BLACK NEWS Weekly” aired on Friday (Apr. 15) to discuss Marcus Wilson and racial disparities regarding Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law, Jussie Smollett, a new bill that would legalize marijuana on a federal level, and Black couples leaning toward the idea of open marriage.

Neima Abdulahi hosted the episode, titled “Cannabis and Congress, Stand Your Ground On Trial, and Monogamy or Not.” She was joined by recording artist Supa Peach, coalition member of Just Georgia Carey “CJ” Jenkins, criminal defense attorney Bernarda Villalona, filmmaker Fab 5 Freddy and influencer Alex Porter. REVOLT Entertainment Correspondent Kennedy Rue McCullough also gave viewers a look into Jussie Smollett’s life while he appeals the verdict in his 2019 hate crime hoax case.

Abdulahi opened the show by discussing the racial disparities within Georgia’s criminal justice system and the state’s Stand Your Ground law after 23-year-old Marcus Wilson was charged with murder for killing a white teen.

On June 14, 2020, Wilson was driving with his girlfriend when a pickup truck allegedly attempted to ram his car off the highway. The truck’s occupants also allegedly shouted racial slurs. At some point, Wilson pulled out a weapon and struck one of the truck’s passengers, 17-year-old Haley Hutcheson who died a few days after the incident.

Wilson’s aunt SaJuana Williams believes her nephew had to take matters into his own hands to protect himself.

“To have Caucasian men hanging out of a truck hollering racial slurs at him and his girlfriend and then in the midst of this, to hear something hit his vehicle — he was terrified. His life was in jeopardy. I can only imagine all of the things that went through his mind that evening, but he had to protect himself and his girlfriend,” she explained to REVOLT.

During the show, Wilson’s cousin Chance Pridgen expressed that he was “very sympathetic [toward] Haley’s family” but also believed “Marc didn’t deserve to be put in a position for that to happen.”

Wilson’s legal team requested that he receive immunity from being prosecuted for felony murder and other charges, however Judge Ronnie Thompson denied the request. Criminal defense attorney Bernarda Villalona reassured Abdulahi that “even though the judge denied immunity, that does not mean that he won’t be able to argue self-defense at trial … it’ll be a different case when it is presented to the jury.”

During the show, Carey “CJ” Jenkins, a coalition member of Just Georgia, insisted Wilson acted in self-defense.

“What we do know is this young man feared for his life. I would rather us be in trial fighting for Marc Wilson than us being at his funeral mourning like we did Ahmaud [Arbery],” he stated.

Before moving on to the next topic, Abdulahi pondered on what the outcome will be for Wilson and compared his predicament to the high-profile homicide cases of Kyle Rittenhouse and George Zimmerman. In both cases, the men claimed self-defense and were acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Next, Abdulahi talked about the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act that passed in the House earlier this month. If passed in the Senate, the legislation will decriminalize marijuana and eliminate criminal penalties for any person who possesses the drug.

Filmmaker Fab 5 Freddy reminded “REVOLT BLACK NEWS Weekly” viewers that many people in the Black community have been wrongfully punished for possessing cannabis.

“A lot of people got nonviolent cannabis charges on their record. That affects where you can live, what kind of jobs you can get. That’s nonsense because cannabis has killed no one,” he asserted.

During the show, recording artist Supa Peach discussed racial inequities within the federal legal system and the fact that marijuana laws are not enforced equally.

“My brother gets sentenced in two weeks to go to prison when no one should be going to prison over a plant. It doesn’t make any sense when the rich are doing the same thing he’s doing and [they get to] live free,” she noted.

Switching gears a bit, Abdulahi hosted a roundtable discussion about why some people are straying away from traditional relationships.

Influencer Alex Porter said he and his wife decided to have a non-monogamous marriage after being wed for 17 years. He stated he wanted to explore other options, but also mentioned he has faced some challenges being in a relationship with two women.

“I realized trying to be with two women and communicating and finding that balance amongst those relationships took a lot more communication, a lot more vulnerability, a lot more honesty, a lot of acceptance and it puts you in a different place,” he expressed.

Spirit, a psychologist, cautioned viewers to refrain from entering into non-monogamous connections if they are currently experiencing issues in their relationship

“So many people look at this as an alternative when their relationships are bad. I will tell you to not get involved in a consensual non-monogamous relationship as an alternative to fixing the problems in your relationship because whatever was present before you stepped out and added extra partners, it is only going to magnify that when you bring new players in,” she warned.

Later in the show, REVOLT Entertainment Correspondent Kennedy Rue McCullough gave viewers insight into actor Jussie Smollett’s life while he appeals his five-year jail sentence for reportedly staging a hate crime in 2019.

The former “Empire” star has released a new song. Titled “Thank You God,” it directly addresses his criminal case and pays homage to those who have supported him.

In an interview with REVOLT, Jussie Smollett’s younger brother Jocqui stated, “Jussie’s career will be absolutely fine. My brother is one of the most talented, creative, intelligent individuals this world has ever known.”

Watch a quick clip from this week’s episode up top. Plus, be sure to catch the next installment of “REVOLT BLACK NEWS Weekly” on Friday, April 22, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET on REVOLT’s app.



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