Jussie Smollett Said ‘F**k No!’ To His ‘Empire’ Character Having A White Boyfriend

Discussion in 'LGBT News and Events' started by OckyDub, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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    As Jamal Lyon on Fox’s “Empire,” Jussie Smollett portrays one of primetime television’s most prominent gay characters of color.

    The cultural significance of the role isn’t lost on the actor-singer, who came out publicly as gay in 2015. Appearing on SiriusXM’s “The Clay Cane Show” Wednesday, he explained why he insisted that Jamal’s love interest on “Empire” be a man of color, too.

    “There was talk about Jamal having a white boyfriend,” Smollett recalled. “And I said, ‘Fuck no!’ Not for any reason, except we have a responsibility and we have a such a beautiful opportunity to show two black men in a relationship together, in a healthy relationship.”

    Stressing that his casting view “wasn’t anything against white men,” he continued, “This is what I hope, this is what I want to see and this is what I wish I had seen as a kid. If I had seen certain things as an adolescent, I would’ve had a much different understanding of who I am.”


    Jamal began dating a journalist, Kai (played by Toby Onwumere), on “Empire” early in the show’s fifth season, which debuted in September. In the season’s fourth episode, Kai disclosed that he was HIV positive.

    Mainstream entertainment has, of course, suffered from a noticeable lack of diversity. The 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report, which surveyed 1,206 TV shows that were airing or streaming in the 2014-2015 season, found that people of color had made gains relative to their white counterparts in front-of-camera roles. But when it came to behind-the-scenes positions like writing and directing, they lost ground.

    Later in his interview, Smollett pointed to the Oscar-winning 2016 film “Moonlight” as an example of Hollywood depicting issues that impact queer people within the black community specifically ― and doing it right.

    “It was just beautiful,” he said of the film, which starred Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe and Trevante Rhodes. “It was also not about sexuality, it was actually about masculinity and the rules that are put on little boys, specifically little black boys, from the moment that they are born that we never really talk about.”
     
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  2. acessential

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    I stopped watching Empire a looong time ago. Props to Jussie Smollet though. I was surprised to see him with a black dude when it came across my Tumblr timeline. I knew from the beginning that Lee Daniels Euro loving self would try to pair him with a white dude.
     
  3. African King

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    So happy that Jussie spoke up. I am loving this season.
     
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  4. ControlledXaos

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    I stopped watching when the middle one let the ghost of his wife go at the beach.

    Black gay men don't always need a wyte guy to date on TV. He already had a PR boyfriend at the start. Let this man catch that chocolate.
     
  5. ControlledXaos

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    Oh wait that was the older brother. Lol
     
  6. Jai

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    I have never seen Empire but I remember seeing Smollet in the Skinny.

    I wonder why they always show a black person with a white person and not just in dramatized TV but in real life like sports and celebs. Like most of the dudes in the Black Panther movie have white wives or girlfriends.

    I used to believe they always paired Whites with blacks because they like to make it seem like a Black person can't achieve success without a white person in their corner but try to make it seem like they are being diverse.

    I remember hearing a white guy say Blacks should be thankful the whites brought them over from Africa into a higher quality way of life.
     
  7. SB3

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    Tbh, I think the biggest reason for interracial, gay relationships (on scripted, black tv, at least) is the audience. It's quite simply, much easier for Quantasia, Tyquan, aunt Frances, and uncle Earl to swallow a black man 'being gay together' with a white/other man than another black man. Not only does it reaffirm the whole 'that aint natural/some white mess' narrative, but it's also easier to think of only one 'good, black man gone to waste' than 2 of them 'flaunting it'.

    Either way, kudos to Jussie for speaking up.
     
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  8. machoBLKnerd

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    interesting take. i imagine jamal was initially slated to have a white boo because lee daniels projects so much of his own pathology onto his work. he peddles so much in anti-blkness in real life that he strikes me as someone who definitely has a white lover (i just googled to confirm my suspicion). with a real-life white partner, lee crafts a beautiful union btwn jamal and a white boo after, as i hear, jamal's string of toxic or dead end situationships with blk men.

    i watched an interview years ago where daniels said that most of the characters from the show were remixes of ppl from his past. apparently, jamal got thrown in the trash can by the dad for being gay which was a real life thing for daniels. so plans for white boo seem like a projection more than anything.

     
    #8 machoBLKnerd, Nov 20, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  9. Aejae

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    Yes Jussie! Exactly how I felt. We do need more representations of healthy black gay love in mainstream media.

    Side note: was Le Dairies the one who brought up Jamal having a white boyfriend:dame:?
     
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  10. Cyrus-Brooks

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    The thing that really pisses me off about most popular media on the rare occasion they do show a black gay character 99% of the time they're paired with someone white. Just based off of media portrayals you'd think we're not attracted to each other, don't date each other, don't like each other, hell you'd think we're not even allowed to be in the same room as each other. I applaud Jussie for making a stand on how we're represented in media.
     
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  11. sydney

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    This is truly sad how gay black love is so poorly represented. But unfortunately in many instances, it's the truth. When my partner and I go on vacation to a gay cruise or gay resorts, we sometimes are the only black couple. Usually most of the blacks are in a interracial relationship. It's actually quite sad.
     
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  12. Dante

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    Blah Blah Blah...

    The question is Will he say "Fuck No..." off camera.

    NEWS FLASH: The straights don't give a fuck if BLACK gay or bi men decide to eat vanilla ice cream. They will still act non-heterophobic accordingly.
    We should be more concerned about cultivating a normalcy with same gender relationships in television and movies. And I applaud the Jamal Lyon character, which has helped to doing so, despite the backlash and a lot of heteros deciding to discontinue watching it bc of the "gay shit".

    Jussie should definitelty be more focused on Lee Daniels and him moving forward with Jamal's growth and his new relationship. And to tell Lee Daniels Fuck No! to incorporating any "sexual fluid" bs into his character/story line (the character played by Alicia Keys).
     
    #12 Dante, Dec 2, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
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