"Empire" star Jussie Smollett is breaking his silence after he was attacked in Chicago earlier this week and had a rope placed around his neck in an apparent hate crime.
"Let me start by saying that I'm OK," Smollett told ESSENCE in statement on Friday. "My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."
Police said Jussie was attacked by two men in the earlier morning hours of Jan. 29. According to reports, he was beaten and rope was placed around his neck. The men were apparently shouting, "This is MAGA country." The incident occurred a week after he was sent a homophobic and racist letter that threatened violence.
"I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level," he said on Friday. "Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. "
He continued, "As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It's all I know. And that can't be kicked out of me."
He signed his statement by writing, "With Love, respect & honor…Jussie."
Jussie is back in Los Angeles and will still perform a scheduled concert Saturday at the Troubadour. He's expected to address the incident at the concert.