entertainment

Empire's Jussie Smollett: 'Coming out helped my career'

2016-09-19
After blasting onto our screens in 2015 in the hit musical drama Empire, Jussie Smollett has become one of the most prominent gay actors in America. The star plays Jamal, the middle child of fictional hip-hop royalty Lucious and Cookie Lyon, in the multi award-winning series. In the show, Jamal is a talented singer songwriter who has a strained relationship with his homophobic father. Being gay and black isn't always easy in Hollywood, but it hasn't stopped Jamal being out and proud as his career goes from strength to strength. And in an exclusive interview in Attitude's September Style Issue - available to download now and in shops next Wednesday (August 17), he reveals  just how important it is for him to stay true to himself in his career. "I get tired of the idea of someone telling me what my truth is," he says. "I’ve said from the beginning of my journey: I do not hide who I am. I love who I love. No one is going to tell me that somehow that is going to be my disability. "I am told so many times that I should not walk truly in my blackness, that I should not walk truly in my sexuality, I should not walk truly in who I am. I say thanks but no thanks, fuck you and goodbye. I honestly think that me being myself has actually helped my career move forward." The star also reveals his admiration for Frank Ocean, who came out in 2012, saying "he eased the punch for Jamal, therefore easing the punch for me". You can read the full interview with Naomi and Jussie and check out their exclusive joint shoot in the new issue Attitude, available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude. It’s in shops next Wednesday (August 17), and print copies are available to order from newsstand.co.uk. COVER RESIZE More stories: Daily Mail questions Chris Mears and Jack Laughers masculinity after gold medal hug Meet the openly LGBT athletes representing their countries in Rio