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Taraji P. Henson is headed to the big screen this weekend for What Men Want. However, she still has her Empire family at heart, and during a recent appearance on Today she talked to Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb about what she told her co-star Jussie Smollett after his recent attack in Chicago. She said:
I just told him to walk in his truth, you know. Just stay the Jussie that everybody loves and you saw the outpour of love that he had, so he has touched a lot of people in his career. I just told him just walk in your truth, baby. No one can take that from you.
The attack, which allegedly occurred last week, reportedly left the actor bruised and battered. Rumors indicate his Empire cast and crew family were told about the attack shortly after and discussions were held to determine whether or not extra security precautions were needed on set. Fox and Empire's team have supported Jussie Smollett since the reported attack and the network even made an official statement after the news broke regarding Smollett, noting:
We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our Empire family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice. The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own.
The show actually shut down production last week due to the polar vortex, so hopefully the actor got a bit of a break before being required to return to work.
Over the weekend Jussie Smollett headed to Los Angeles, where he performed in front of a crowd, telling those at the Troubadour Club in West Hollywood that many of the facts that were reported have been off. His ribs were bruised but not broken, for example. He went to a doctor but was not hospitalized as well. He also says he “fought back” against his attackers.
Taraji P. Henson also mentioned a lot along the lines of what Jussie Smollett mentioned over the weekend. He talked about the “hateful rhetoric” need “to stop.” His co-star also iterated on Today:
Life is spiritual warfare and we're seeing it right before our very eyes, so you just have to stay close to what you know. Jussie is love. That's who he is, and that's all he knows, so in this situation, hate won't win. It will not.
Empire is currently airing its fifth season on Fox. The storyline this season for Jussie Smollett’s character, Jamal, has involved him movie back to New York from London with his new boyfriend Kai. Things have not always been smooth between Kai and Jamal, especially after their engagement went public, but we won’t see how their storyline pans out until the show returns to the schedule this spring.