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Jaboukie Young-White Just Doesn’t Understand This Jussie Smollett Story

As the bizarre Jussie Smollett story continues to unravel, Trevor Noah welcomed Daily Show correspondent and soon-to-be movie star Jaboukie Young-White to the desk last night to offer his take on the saga as a queer black man. “This story’s been weird for me, Trevor. As a gay person, I’m used to speaking on gay issues. As a black person, I’m used to speaking on black issues. But I’m not used to them intersecting, unless when someone’s like, ‘As a gay black person, do you think I could pull of these shoes?’” he says. But why, Noah asks, did Smollett allegedly fake a hate crime against him? “I don’t know why he did it, man. I mean, if he wanted to raise awareness for LGBTQ rights, he should’ve just donated money. If he wanted attention, he could’ve just leaked his nudes. And if he wanted to hang out with two guys at 2 a.m., Grindr is right there!”

When Noah points out that the Smollett story might make it harder for victims of hate crimes to see justice in the future, Young-White explains why he doesn’t quite buy that argument: “Not really, because that would have required people to have cared about queer people — specifically queer black people — in the first place,” he says before teaching Noah about a horrifyingly real thing called the gay and trans “panic” defense, which makes it possible in 47 states for someone to get a lighter sentence for killing a gay or trans person by claiming they were hit on by the victim. “Imagine if women could use that defense,” Young-White says. “There’d be no men left! None! And then, who would be left to buy all the three-in-one body wash, shampoo, and conditioner?”

But Young-White doesn’t want his biggest takeaway from this whole story to be overshadowed: This also affects actors, and it also affects the likelihood that Young-White will get cast in a Lifetime movie. And the Smollett story also makes it extremely clear that actors should never write their own projects: “I mean, this thing had way too many plot holes. He totally miscast the villains,” he says. “I mean, two Nigerian Trump supporters? You can’t just cast black people as racist white people. This isn’t Hamilton!”

Jaboukie Young-White Just Doesn’t Understand Jussie Smollett