Actor Jussie Smollett has explained why he didn’t want his Empire character Jamal to have a white on-screen boyfriend.
Speaking on The Clay Cane Show, the star said: ‘There was talk about Jamal having a white boyfriend. I said ‘Fuck no.”’
Jussie has played Jamal on the show since 2015, across five seasons.
‘[It] wasn’t anything against white men’
The 36-year-old actor explained that he held the opinion ‘not for any reason except we have a responsibility. And such a beautiful opportunity to show two black men in a relationship together.’
He furthermore added: ‘It was important to say it. That wasn’t anything against white men. It was just a thing of “No, no, no, no – this is what I hope to see.”
‘And I wish had seen as a kid. Because, if I had seen certain things as an adolescent, I would have had a much different understanding of who I am in an earlier space.’
Jussie and the interviewer go on to praise the Oscar-winning Moonlight, and its representation of young gay black men.
Jussie, who came out as gay in 2015 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has also appeared in movies such as Alien: Covenant and The Skinny.