Chris Rock joked about the ‘Empire’ actor at the NAACP Awards, despite being advised not to.
While the 16 felony disorderly conduct charges (including staging a hate crime on himself) against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, 36, have been dropped, people are still discussing the series of events Jussie had to endure the last couple of months. The latest to make waves about Jussie’s actions was comedian Chris Rock, 54, who used his time on the 2019 NAACP Awards stage to says Jussie “[gets] no respect” from him.
“They said ‘no Jussie Smollett jokes,'” Chris pointed out as he began his speech. “I know. What a waste of light skin. You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here. F****** running Hollywood.”
“What the hell was he thinking?” Chris continued. “From now on, you’re ‘Jessie’ from now on. You don’t even get the ‘U’ no more. That ‘U’ was respect. You don’t get no respect from me.”
— TV One (@tvonetv) March 31, 2019
Even though Chris used his time on the show to criticize Jussie (which you can watch in the video above), Master of None actress Lena Waithe, 34, spoke about the particular experience of being black and queer on the red carpet with our sister site, Variety. She said, “being queer and black is like having a target on your back every time you walk out the door.” She empathized with Jussie.
While Jussie was nominated for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role of Jamal Lyon on Empire, the actor who has been tangled in controversy didn’t attend the award show. His co-star, Taraji P. Henson, 48, was nominated and won in the Best Actress in a Drama Series category for her character Cookie Lyon in Empire.
Hopefully, now that the charges against Jussie have been dropped, he can return to focusing on his career and moving forward from this awful situation.