Jussie Smollett may seem to have just burst on the scene. From most recently co-starring as Sergeant Ricks in Ridley Scott’s number one box office hit, Alien: Covenant; to his cameo as legendary poet and childhood hero, Langston Hughes, in Reginald Hudlin’s Marshall with Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad and Kate Hudson; And most notably, starring as Jamal Lyon, the tortured pop star son of Lucious and Cookie, played by Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson on FOX’s award winning hit, Empire. A role earned Jussie the 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. The show which is entering its fifth season, has become a phenomenon, shattering records and allowing the singer/songwriter to blend his skills. In 2018 he released a debut album independently titled, Sum of My Music. Smollett is fresh off his Sold Out international and domestic Sum Of My Music World Tour, culminating at Essence Fest in New Orleans.
What some fail to realize, is Jussie Smollett has co-starred in some of the most memorable projects of the last generation. From films like The Mighty Ducks, and Rob Reiner’s North, to playing the son of Halle Berry and Danny Glover in Alex Haley’s Queen to starring opposite his five real-life siblings in the ABC/TGIF sitcom On Our Own… Smollett is no newby.
He stunned audiences with his portrayal of Josey, a runaway slave, desperate to find his wife, in WGN’s Underground. He’s also had guest stints on Revenge and The Mindy Project. In 2012, Smollett received rave reviews for his portrayal of, Magnus, a medical student hosting his college friends for an eye-opening weekend in New York City in the cult favorite, The Skinny.
2016 was a great year on the music front. The Empire soundtrack, for which Smollett, was both a writer and vocalist, went to number one on the Billboard charts, was nominated for a Grammy, Emmy and an American Music Award. The quadruple threat who Ebony Magazine has dubbed “…a quiet storm” received awards for Outstanding New Artist, Outstanding Collaboration with Estelle for “Conqueror”, and Outstanding Song for “You’re So Beautiful” which he co-wrote at the 2016 NAACP Image Awards. He has been chosen to perform at the Kennedy Center, induct the great Marvin Gaye into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, sing for President and Mrs. Obama and open three sold out dates for the iconic Mariah Carey in Hawaii.
Most importantly, Jussie Smollett is actively involved in numerous charities and community organizations. Recently being praised for his directorial debut. The visual for his song F.U.W., a bold, unapologetic, commentary of the world we currently live in. In 2015 the Black AIDS Institute honored Jussie, with their “Heroes in the Struggle” award for truly making a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Smollett now sits on the board of the Black AIDS Institute, Sankofa.org, The Trayvon Martin Foundation, and the RuJohn Foundation, which supplies clothes, school materials and scholarships to children in Jamaica and the U.S. In 2016 he received the prestigious NAACP Chairman’s Award and in 2017 was honored by the AFL/CIO for his activism and using his platform to bring attention to civil rights and social justice causes. In 2018 he was honored as the Gentleman of the Year.