Jussie Smollett is speaking out for the first time since he was the victim of a brutal attack in Chicago, thanking his fans for the outpour of support he has received.
"Let me start by saying that I'm OK," Smollett began in a statement to ESSENCE. "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. "
Smollett continued, "I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. "
He concluded by saying, "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."
Jussie Smollett's family released a statement on Thursday, saying in part, "“We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender nonconforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Often times ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable."
Smollett's sister, Jurnee Smollett Bell, added, "Because there’s a light in him that cannot be dimmed, because we are a family of joyful warriors, we will not let this get the best of us,” she wrote along with posting a family photo. “Although this is a picture from happier times, this is the spirit to which we chose to move forward…they will not steal, our joy."