Jussie Smollett returned to the spotlight Sunday at the BET Awards in Los Angeles.
The former empire star stepped onto the red carpet wearing a tan suit paired with a white shirt, several gold necklaces, and black stud earrings.
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After posing for photos in the 90 degree heat outside the Microsoft theater, Smollett stopped to talk to Entertainment Tonight, and told MEAT host Kevin Frazier it’s “wonderful” to work his way back into Hollywood.
Smollett’s directorial debut B-Boy Blues premiered June 9 on BET+. The drama is an adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s best-selling novel by the same name, and follows the same-sex love story between a college educated journalist from Brooklyn and a homeboy-bike messenger from Harlem.
The actor has slowly been to public life since he was returning from the Cook County Jail in Chicago on March 16, pending the appeal of his conviction for lying to police about an alleged hate crime attack, in which he said he was beaten and doused with bleach by two men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs and said, “This is MAGA country.”
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In his first interview since being found guilty of felony disorderly conduct in December 2021, the 40-year-old star sat down with SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning” show on June 21.
During the interview, Smollett insisted he did not stage his 2019 attack and also confirmed that he spent time in a psych ward while jailed.
“I was there for six and a half days. I fasted for six and a half days, ”he said, adding that fasting helped clear his mind. “I have never in my life, at least in my adult life, been as clear of mind as I was for those six and a half days… I was fasting until I found out whether or not I was gonna be in there for those five and a half month. I just wanted to know what my life was about to look like.”
He clarified that he was not confined to a straitjacket or held in restraints.
“Lord knows I wanted to get out. I was in af–ing psych ward… I was sleeping on a restraint bed but I wasn’t restrained,” he said.