Jussie Smollett has released a defiant new song opposing the outcome of his Chicago trial, during which he was convicted on charges of staging a hate crime and sentenced to 150 days in jail.
On Friday (April 8), the former Empire star shared a lyric video for Thank You God via Instagram and announced that all profits from the tune will be donated to organisations uplifting Black, LGBTQ+ and wrongfully incarcerated people. Beneficiaries of the release include the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Secure the Bag Safety and the Illinois Innocence Project.
"Channeling these thoughts the best way I know how," a title card reads at the top of the video. "Love you... Jussie."
Throughout the nearly 1-minute, 40-second track, Smollett reflects on the discourse surrounding his trial and rejects the accusation that he pretended to be the victim of a racist, homophobic attack for "fame" or "clout".
"It's like they're hell bent on not solving the crime/ taking out the elements of race and trans and homophobia/ That's straight taking lives/ But turn around and act like I'm the one that killed the strides," the performer raps.
"Some people searching for fame/ Some people chasing that clout/ Just remember this/ This ain't that situation/ You think I'm stupid enough to kill my reputation?/ Just simply to look like a victim/ Like it's something fun/ Y'all better look at someone else/ You got the wrong one."
In the wake of his controversial sentencing, some of Smollett's fellow entertainers posted #FreeJussie on social media in his defense. Among the Hollywood luminaries in Smollett's corner are Pose star Indya Moore and Empire alum Taraji P. Henson, who played his mother on the hit musical drama.
Smollett's younger sister, Jurnee — known for her work in HBO's Lovecraft Country — maintained his innocence via Instagram while insisting, "you don't have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free."
"I wanna thank y'all/ I know I still got you/ This for the people who kept it real/ Who kept it true," Smollett continues rapping in his latest song.
"All I've ever really wanted to do/ Was make my people proud/ Fame is nothing real/ It's how you make them feel/ Celebrity is for the birds/ I ain't no man of steel/ Thank you God." – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service