The Empire star, 36, took a break during the show to address the situation and share his heartfelt thanks to his friends and family for their support, noting that though he was injured, he didn’t suffer bruised or cracked ribs. Smollett added that he took himself to the doctor directly after the incident, however, he was not hospitalized.
“I had to be here tonight, y’all. I can’t let [them] win,” the Mighty Ducks alum told the crowd at the Troubadour in West Hollywood as he fought back tears. “I will always stand for love. I will only stand for love.”
Smollett — who came out as gay during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2015 — later joked to a cheering audience: “I’m the gay Tupac.”
Meanwhile, in Chicago, police superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters on Friday, February 1, that they are “making gains in the investigation” of Smollett’s report that his attackers shouted racial and homophobic slurs, poured an unknown chemical substance on him and tied a noose around his neck.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 29, that Smollett had transported himself to a local hospital following the incident that took place in the early hours of that morning.
TMZ reported on Friday that the California-born actor and singer had canceled the meet and greet that was supposed to take place prior to his concert on Saturday due to safety concerns.
Earlier that day, Smollett broke his silence on the attack, clarifying that he is “OK.”
The statement continued: “My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words. I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me. With Love, respect & honor … Jussie.”