Why I Ain’t Mad at Jussie and You Shouldn’t Be Either
The entire country is in outrage and memes are flying everywhere concerning Empire actor Jussie Smollett.
Last month, Smollett claimed he was attached on the streets of Chicago at 2 AM by two men wearing Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats- hats that show allegiance to Donald Trump.
He claimed the men not only physically attacked him, but the men poured a chemical substance on his skin, placed a noose around his neck, and shouted homophonic and racist remarks at the singer/actor.
Celebrities and the general public poured in support on social media for the star. I showed support for Smollet on multiple occasions on FaceBook and Twitter, because I’ve seen Jussie around the world of black activism quite a bit and I am down for anyone who is about bringing justice and equality to the black community and humanity.
The night before his attack, I saw Smollet on an episode of PoliticsNation with AL Sharpton and he was speaking in support of finding funding for a historically black female college that is facing closure. I remember commenting to myself, “What a nice, young man,” during his segment.
You can only imagine the surprise on everyone’s face when new explosive details seem to indicate that Smollett faked his attack. Allegedly, the 36 year old paid two African brothers who were formally extras on the show Empire, to rough him up while wearing ski masks and MAGA hats.
There is footage of the brothers buying the ski masks and hats right before the planned attack. Jussie’s alleged motive was for a pay raise on Empire.
Many people are outraged because they feel as though Jussie’s false allegations of attack hurt real victims of homophobia and racism. Some of the ladies on the talk show The View expressed this morning that real victims may be afraid to come forward after Jussie’s story, because they fear their stories will no longer be considered credible.
Why I’m Not Mad at Smollett
I hope this is not the case, and I hear everyone’s concerns but personally- I AIN’T MAD at Jussie. That’s right, I said “ain’t”.
If you are a regular reader of my blog you might be scratching your head in confusion, because I preach fairness and good choices, but for a moment can I be petty?
Jussie was wrong for getting a lot of people invested in a personal situation that he could have taken up with Lee Daniels, the creator of Empire, or the executives at Fox Network, but I think what outrages people the most is Smollett used the hurtful symbols of the MAGA hat and the noose to gain attention.
Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again”. Trump and his supporters still wear this red baseball style hat. The implications behind the hat is that a great America to Trump and his supporters is going back to an era of racism and segregation. Of course, the noose is representative of those used in the lynching of countless black people during and after slavery.
Yes, these images are hurtful. Yes, Jussie might have lied about his plight, but historically how many African Americans have been lied on? How many black mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lovers and friends, never came home because of a lie much more disturbing than the one Smollett told?
Let’s discuss for a moment one of the most tragic cases in history of our country which resulted in Black children facing the ultimate consequence because of lies.
The Scottboro Boys
On March 25, 1931, about twenty-four youngsters, both black and white were, “hoboing” on a train when a racially tense fight broke out. One of the white teens began throwing rocks at the black youngsters and telling them to leave, because it was a “white train”.
The white teens were defeated by the nine black teens and the white teens where asked to leave the train for causing the disturbance. Embarrassed, the white teens decided to go to the local sheriff and say they had been attacked. The sheriff had the train stopped and apprehended the black teenagers.
On board the train simultaneously, were two white female prostitutes. Victoria Prince and Ruby Bates were afraid of being arrested for traveling with lewd intent which was against the law. The two lied on the nine black young men too, saying that they had been gang rapped by them to avoid arrest.
The nine young men were apprehended into police custody and named the Scottsboro Boys for the city in Alabama the arrest took place. The boys were dragged in and at of court, though one boy was only 12, another suffered from syphilis and could barely walk, while a third’s glasses were broken in the initial arrest and he suffered trial after trial and prison without being issued a replacement.
Through a rape kit proved that Prince and Bates had not been raped, the young men still endured years of trials that even reached the Supreme Court. It would not be until the mid 1940s , that the case was thought of as unjust, but by then many of the young men had fled jail, been shot, or served years of prison.
Each of these young men went on to lead a very poor quantity of life and all but one of the Scottsboro Boys was deceased by the 1950’s.
The Modern Truth
Let’s be frank for a moment- The real reason Jussie Smollett’s case is getting so much recognition is because a black man lied on white homophobic racist America, but how many times has America lied on the black man?
The Scottsboro Boys are just one tragic example, but how about Emmett Till, or in more recent history Trayvon Martin who was painted as a thug for wearing a hoodie in the rain and walking to his father’s house with candy.
I ain’t mad at Jussie, because for the first time white racist gets to endure how it feels to be lied on. For the first time, people who identify with MAGA principles get to see how it feels be degraded and defamed.
In a televised press conference, the Chicago Police Department accused Jussie of wasting police resources, but what of the Starbucks barista who called the police on two black men for waiting on a friend in the establishment (click here to learn more) ? Of the white woman social media dubbed BBQ Becky for calling the police on black people barbecuing in an Oakland Park or Permit Patty who called the police on a little black girl for selling water without a permit? As a matter of fact, how about the time Chicago wasted it’s own time and resources by installing a bait truck to tempt young black kids into stealing name brand shoes? (click here to read more)
What Jussie allegedly did for vanity was wrong, but we needed this moment in history.
Just think about it, the very first time some black guy makes a minor offense against racist America and the poor guy is going to jail for a felony.
Is Rudy Bates in jail? No. Victoria Price? No. What about the white woman involved in the Emmett Till case who recently admitted to lying on the young boy? No. What of BBQ Becky? No. Permit Patty? No. Surely, George Zimmerman who killed Trayvon Martin? No, he’s trying to sell the gun he used to kill the teenager online, calling the lethal weapon “a piece of American history” and an “American firearm icon”.
Y’all still mad at Jussie?