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JUSSIE SMOLLETT SPEAKS OUT FOLLOWING ATTACK

Jussie Smollett broke his silence Friday after what is being described as a racist and homophobic attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"Let me start by saying that I’m OK," Smollett told Essence. "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."

Regarding some skepticism about the nature of the attack, he said that he’d been "100 percent factual and consistent on every level" with authorities.

"Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served," he said.

"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," Smollett said.

"We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process," he concluded. "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."

PERFORMANCE

Smollett performed his first show on Saturday in Southern California in front of 300 people. He told audience members that he isn’t quite healed, but is doing OK. He also clarified details of the attack.

"There's a lot of stuff that's been said about me that is absolutely not true," Smollett said before speaking out about his injuries. "I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked. They were not broken."

"I don't even care to name any names," he said. "The hateful rhetoric that gets passed around, it has to stop. But guess what, it stops with the people that believe in love."

He joked that he is the "gay Tupac" and told the audience that now is the time to be "blacker" and gayer."

THE ATTACK

Chicago police reported Tuesday that the 36-year-old Empire star—who is openly gay—had been attacked by two as-yet-unidentified men who started by "yelling out racial and homophobic slurs."

He told police that the men then beat him, "poured an unknown chemical substance," and wrapped a rope around his neck. He later told police they yelled "MAGA country" at him, a reference to President Trump’s "Make America Great Again" slogan.

He was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital but is on the mend.

When it was revealed that Smollett had received threatening letters prior to the attack, the FBI took over the investigation as a possible hate crime.