On Wednesday, September 9, actor Jussie Smollett appeared on author and activist Marc Lamont Hill’s Instagram Live and maintained his innocence regarding his ongoing criminal case with the city of Chicago, which alleges that Smollett staged a hate crime against himself in early 2019. Before Smollett’s interview, the co-founder of Chicago’s Black Lives Matter movement Aislinn Pulley and civil-rights activist and prison abolitionist Angela Davis both spoke with Hill and expressed their support of Smollett.
The Instagram Live interview came after Angela Davis stood in solidarity with the actor via an open letter also signed by actors and activists Danny Glover and LisaGay Hamilton. “I don’t think that we have extricated ourselves from all of the influences of law and order rhetoric even though so many of us are involved in campaigns against the police. The police still remains this major arbiter of what is right and wrong,” said Davis, during her interview with Hill, in defense of Smollett. “How do we liberate ourselves from the ideological hold of the police?”
Smollett, who was fired from Fox’s Empire due to the situation and has laid relatively low ever since, admitted to his current situation being “beyond frustrating.” “Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I am so angry, but other times if I squint real hard I can see the silver lining,” said Smollett. Hill referenced a recent development in Smollett’s case involving the city of Chicago requesting that the FBI hand over records of their probe into Smollett’s case and Smollett’s lawyers filing a motion against his current indictment, set to be heard by a judge on Thursday, September 10. “There’s a chance this could all be over tomorrow,” Hill said to Smollett during the interview. Smollett was less optimistic, saying, “If I’m being completely honest, no I don’t think that … They won’t let this go. You know what I’m saying? They won’t let this go. It doesn’t matter … The sad part is that there is an example being made of someone who did not do what they’re being accused of.” You can watch Pulley, Davis, and Smollett’s interviews with Hill below.