Jussie Smollett made his first red carpet appearance since stepping back from life in the public eye as he deals with ongoing legal issues.
The former “Empire” star has been the subject of controversy for years after he allegedly faked a hate crime incident in 2019.
However, the actor maintained his innocence as recently as July when he told Fox News that he was participating in a “dog and pony show” while entering the court on renewed charges including six counts of felony misconduct for allegedly lying to police about a racist, homophobic attack he claims was gainst him.
On Friday, the embattled actor, 39, appeared at a premiere for his directorial debut film, “B-Boy Blues,” in Harlem.
Jussie Smollett made a rare public appearance at a premiere for his directorial debut. (AP Photo/Matt Marton File)
People reports that the film is based on James Earl Hardy’s 1994 novel of the same name. It was produced by Smollett’s SuperMassive Movies along with Hardy and others.
It follows the relationship between Mitchell Crawford, a 27-yeard-old journalist, and Raheim Rivers, a 21-year-old bike messenger and banjee boy, better known as a B-boy, as they struggle with homophobia after falling in love at a bar in New York City. While the film is complete and able to be screened, it is still looking for a distributor before it can be more widely viewed by the public.
Jussie Smollett directed the movie “B-Boy Blues.” (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)
“To see all the love for the film is crazy beautiful,” he said on his Instagram Story. “More to come while I catch up but to everyone who came out last night with so much love and community… on behalf of everyone @bboybluesfilm, thank you.”
The appearance comes days before Smollett is due to appear in court once again on Nov. 29 for his role in the allegedly phony hate crime. In 2019, he originally told police that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him. They allegedly tied a rope around his neck and poured a liquid on him. However, two men who he worked with on “Empire” came forward and alleged that he paid them $3,500 to stage the entire attack as a publicity stunt.
Former ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett made a rare public appearance days before his next court appearance. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Charges in the case were initially dropped and the actor forfeited a $10,000 bond. However, a year later, Cook County special prosecutor Dan Webb indicted him on six new counts of disorderly conduct and lying to the Chicago Police Department.