By Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Strategist by GLAAD.org
Jussie Smollett, breakout star of FOX’s hit musical drama Empire, visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week where he performed “Good Enough” from the series and in a special backstage video interview addressed speculation about his orientation. He said:
“It was very, very important to me that as my first, you know, performance and talk show, that it was with you. You’ve been such an inspiration to so many, but also to me — what you’ve done in the LGBT community is very much, in my opinion, kind of like what Michael Jackson did with the black community. Just that you are who you are — he was just Michael, and you’re just Ellen. So it was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet, there’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet…but I have a home, and it’s my responsibility to protect that home, so that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is without a doubt no closet that I’ve ever been in…So let’s not read into it in the wrong way when I say that I don’t talk about my personal life. I’m saying that, but it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. My mama knows, my mama likes me a lot and I take her to the Sound of Music sing-a-long every single year, so any questions?…We’re human, and we love and we do all that good stuff.”
Empire has broken records and grown in ratings every week it has aired, and has already been renewed for a second season with the most recent episode drawing an audience of 14.33 million. You can catch up on all the drama with full episodes at FOX.com and see all new episodes ofEmpire Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX.