Queen Latifah stands up for Jussie Smollett.
In a new interview on the Yahoo News show Through Her Eyes, the actress and singer made it clear the accusations Smollett faces seem at odds with the former co-star she knew. “Until somebody can show me some proof otherwise, I’m going with him,” Latifah, who appeared in a 2017 episode of Empire alongside Smollett, told host Zainab Salbi.
“The guy I’ve seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who’s very kind and who’s always been cool and sweet.”
In January, Smollett told Chicago police that he was assaulted by two masked men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs. According to the actor, the two men beat him up and coiled a rope around his neck while dousing him with bleach.
By mid-February, law enforcement officials declared that their investigation had “shifted” following new evidence. Days later, Smollett was charged with filing a false report concerning the alleged attack. Latifah, however, remains unconvinced ― for now, at least.
“Until I can see some definitive proof — which I haven’t seen yet — then, you know, I gotta go with him until I see otherwise,” she stated. The Grammy and Golden Globe winner’s defense of Smollett follow that of another one of Smollett’s co-stars, Terrence Howard. On Feb. 23, Howard ― who plays music mogul Lucious Lyon on Empire ― posted a short Instagram video of Smollett tickling a baby, angering some fans. “All your lil homies got you … we love the hell outta you.”