Actor Jussie Smollett returned to the red carpet this weekend for a screening of his new movie B-Boy Blues, which he co-wrote and directed. Smollett has not attended an event like this since he was allegedly attacked in a hate crime back in 2019. He did not reference that ongoing case on Friday.
Smollett and James Earl Hardy wrote B-Boy Blues – a romantic drama about a Brooklyn journalist and a Harlem bike messenger falling in love. It is based on Hardy's 1994 novel by the same name. Smollett does not appear in the movie, and in fact, has not acted since he was fired from Empire in 2019 amid claims that he falsified a bigoted attack on himself. However, he was all smiles on the red carpet outside of the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem multiplex in New York City, according to a report by PEOPLE. Smollett wore a gray coat over a black turtleneck to the event.
"Beyond humbled by last night's screening," Smollett said on his Instagram Story on Saturday morning. "To see all the love for the film is crazy beautiful. More to come while I catch up but to everyone who came out last night with so much love and community ... on behalf of everyone [who worked on B-Boy Blues], Thank you. We love y'all. Now to find a home for it so the whole world can see."
Smollett's sister, actress Jurnee Smollett, made her own post congratulating her brother on directing his first film. Smollett had previously directed several music videos and two episodes of Empire, but this was his first feature-length movie. "So proud of you [Jussie Smollett]!!" Jurnee wrote on her Instagram Story. "Congrats on making your feature directorial debut with [B-Boy Blues]! Can't wait for the world to see the magic you all have created in this film!"
Smollett's moment of triumph in the theater comes just days before he is due back in court for charges of disorderly conduct relating to his alleged attack. Smollett claimed that two men attacked him on a Chicago street on the night of Jan. 29, 2019, both spewing racist and homophobic slurs. Evidence later suggested that Smollett had hired two men to simulate the attack in the hopes of earning sympathy in the public eye. Smollett pleaded not guilty to falsifying a police report and other related charges, but the case has gone on for over two years now.
According to a report by NBC News, Smollett now faces charges from a special prosecutor, and a judge recently denied his lawyers' attempts to have the case dismissed. Smollett will go to trial on Nov. 29 and stand before a jury. He continues to deny any wrongdoing.