Jussie Smollett: biography
On 21st June, 1982, Jussie Smollett was born in Santa Rosa. He is a well-known American singer and actor. He made entrance into the acting industry at a very young age in 1987. He has given appearances as a child star in couple of movies such as The Mighty Ducks (1982) and Rob Reiner’s North (1994).
His breakthrough role was of a black musician named as Jamal Lyon in blockbuster drama series Empire. The series was aired on Fox channel in 2015. His near to reality positive portrayal of a black gay man received applaud from both critics and audience. His other prominent films include Alien: Covenant (2017) which is based on science fiction and Marshalls (2017). His roles' names were Ricks and Langston Hughes respectively.
Jussie was born in Santa Rosa, California into a large family consisting of two sisters and three brothers. He was the third child of his parents who belonged to different regions. His father was Ashkenazi Jewish named Janet who belonged to a family from Russia and Poland. Jussie’s mother name is Joel Smollett who is an African American.
His brothers’ names are Jake, Jocqui, Jojo and his sisters names are Jurnee and Jazz. Many of his siblings are also in acting industry. In 1994, they all performed in a TV series called On Our Own.
Jussie once said that his father was a proud black man, up to such extent, that his father could have killed someone if they had called him white. His father was not present during important period of his childhood. At the age of 19 he made a confession of being gay in front of his parents. Jussie has done his graduation from Paramus Catholic High School located in Paramus, New Jersey.
Jussie performed in The Mighty Ducks (1992) and Rob Reiner’s North (1994) as a child star artist. His television career began in 1994, where he was casted along his siblings for a sitcom named On Our Own. The sitcom ran on ABC for a short span of time from 1994-1995. He got his first leading role in a 2012 comedy drama named The Skinny. The sitcom was based on the theme of Patrik-Ian Polk’s LGBT. During this year he also released an EP named The Poisoned Hearts Club. His prominent guest star appearances were praised in The Mindy Project (2012) and Revenge (2014).
The role which changed the course of his acting career came in 2014. He was offered a part named Jamal Lyon opposite Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson in a Fox channel drama series called “”. His depiction of a gay musician who goes through rough patches in order to seek approval from his father turned out to be ‘groundbreaking’. His role was reprised in all the following seasons and he even got the opportunity to direct one episode for 4th season in 2017.
Smollett had a great interest in pursuing his singing career as well. That is why he sealed the recording deal with Columbia Records in February, 2015. He is a co-writer of two Original Soundtracks from Season 1 of “Empire” named “I Wanna Love You” and “You’re So Beautiful”. The tracks were released in March 2015. Later in June 2015, Jussie signed the series “Underground” with her sister Jurnee as a guest star. The series was aired in 2016. Smollett released his debut album under his own label “Music of Sound” during March 2018. The debut R & B album was named as “Sum of My Music” and it contained elements of hip hop and electronic dance music.
During March 2015, Jussie Smollett was invited as a guest star in Ellen DeGeneres show. It was through this interview that the world found out about his sexual orientation. In 2016, he further clarified his gay status in an interview for “Out” stating
“if I had to label myself, I would label myself as a gay man”.
He believes that love is above gender discrimination. Once he stated that
“if I fall in love down the road with a woman, I am going to love that woman”.
Interestingly in the series “Empire” his gay character once dates a female character; this created quite a controversy in gay community. Jussie came forward to defend this plot expansion by stating that the show’s creator Lee Daniels was trying to convey about sexual fluidity in gay people to general viewers. It is a known fact that Lee Daniels is also a gay man. Lee got on record to say “We’re showing life on Empire”, as once he stated that sometimes both Jussie and he desired for having a sex with a woman.
Jussie Smollett is proud to be an activist since childhood. Once a member of some set passed away because of HIV disease. At that time Jussie was only 10 years old but he took that very seriously to his heart and since then he is one of the celebrities who are investing in spreading awareness about HIV, homophobia and racism. He joined “Black AIDS Institute” as a volunteer only when he was 16 years old. His mentor was Phill Wilson. He joined hands with other celebrities like Carlos Santana, LaToya Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson for the same cause under the “New South Africa” association.
Jussie Smollett is the brother in law of Josiah Bell and an uncle of Hunter Zion Bell. He is currently residing in an apartment in Chicago city. He is good friends with Naomi Campbell.
Jussie Smollett was nominated at the “Young Artist Awards” for Outstanding Young Assemble Cast in a Motion Picture category for her role in “The Mighty Ducks”. His second nomination happened in year 1993 as a best actor at “BET Awards”. His first win at awards occurred in year 2016 on the event of “NAACP Image Awards”. He was lucky enough to grab three awards in the very same night.
The awards belonged to categories like Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration, Outstanding Song and Outstanding New Artist. During 2017 he got another award victory at “NAACP Image Awards” in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in “Empire”.
The net worth of this famous American actor, photographer and singer Jussie Smollett is estimated to be around $1 million. It is said that he was paid $35,000 per episode for the initial seasons of “Empire”. His salary increased to whopping $65,000 per episode in the later seasons of “Empire” and by the time he left the show in 2019 his salary had been peaked to gigantic $100,000 per episode.