'Empire' Star Taraji P. Henson Stands by Co-Star Jussie Smollet Following Attack: 'My Baby Is Resilient'

Taraji P. Henson is speaking out in the wake of the racist and homophobic attack on her Empire co-star Jussie Smollett.

Henson, who portrays Smollett's on-screen mother, Cookie, on the popular FOX drama, took to Instagram on Wednesday to break her silence on the Tuesday morning attack in Chicago, which left Smollett with lacerations to his face and neck the Chicago Police Department investigating "a possible hate crime."

"I wish what happened to my baby was just one big bad joke but it wasn't and we all feel his pain right now," Henson wrote, sharing a black-and-white video of Smollett performing his song "F.U.W." "[Jussie Smollett] is pure love to the bone AND THAT IS WHY SO MANY ARE FEELING HIS PAIN BECAUSE IT IS OUR PAIN!!! I tell you one thing HATE WILL NOT WIN!!!! My baby is resilient and love still lives in him. The devil and his minions are very busy right now but one thing is for sure and two things are for certain #GODIS and that is all I know."

"This song needs to be downloaded until it goes triple platinum because the message is NEEDED," she continued of Smollett's political track. "#weareresilientpeople AND #weaintgoingnowhereuntillwearefinished. The love so many have him just goes to show HE IS LOVE!!!! I LOVE YOU MY BABY MY BABY!!! #LOVEWINSALWAYS."

Henson's message of support followed a similar sentiment issued by Smollet's on-screen father, Terrence Howard, who broke his silence on the attack during an appearance on Good Morning America Wednesday.

"I heard he's getting better," Howard said of Smollett. "He's angry, but I know Jussie. Jussie's anger will dissipate, and he will forgive these people for what they did. But he won't, and we cannot, forget their actions. They have to be forgiven because it was done out of ignorance."

"Jussie's the one that starts singing when everybody's in a bad mood," he continued. "He's the one that cheers everybody up. He's the one that does all the Instagrams if he catches you sleeping. Today, no one was caught sleeping. No one even took time to close their eyes and nap. They were all in shock that our family — you know, the Fox family, the Empire family, the Lyon family — were attacked by a bunch of hyenas today."

The Tuesday attack, which occurred as Smollett was leaving a Subway restaurant at around 2 a.m., came eight days after Fox Studios had received an anonymous letter threatening the actor's life. The letter, featuring words spelled with letters cut out from magazines, read "You will die black f—."


In response to the attack, Empire has reportedly upped security, including armed security, as the cast continues production in Chicago.

Smollett was released from a local hospital shortly after the attack and is said to be "physically O.K." He has not yet spoken out regarding the incident.