As Black Lives Matter protests all over the country coinciding with LGBTQ Pride Month, actor Justice Smith decided that now was the time to come out publicly. The Detective Pikachu star made an Instagram post on Friday, identifying as "a black queer man." He even posted heartwarming photos with actor and writer Nicholas Ashe, apparently revealing that they are in a romantic relationship.
Smith's post on Friday included one video and three pictures, beginning with footage of a peaceful protest in New Orleans, Louisiana. Smith then added pictures of himself and Ashe smiling, kissing and just brushing their teeth together. In the prolonged caption, Smith did not declaratively "come out" as queer, but mentioned it as if it were something he had neglected to mention before. Smith also called on protesters around the country to be inclusive in this current wave of activism — calling out specific mantras like "Black Trans Lives Matter" and "Black Queer Lives Matter."
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"If your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-black," Smith wrote. If your revolution is okay with letting black trans people like [Tony McDade] slip through the cracks in order to solely liberate black cishet men, it is anti-black. You are trying to push yourself through the door of a system designed against you, and then shut the door behind you."
While Smith acknowledged that the movements for LGBTQ and African American civil rights have all come a long way, he also noted the amount of sorrow still pervasive in our culture. He hoped that the revelation of his own happy relationship would help in some way.
"There is so much tragedy on the timeline these last couple of days," he wrote, "so I added some photos of me and Nic to show some #blackboyjoy #blacklove [and] #blackqueer love... You've been my rock and guiding light through all of this and I love you so much. I know that on the other side of this Is change, though the fight is far from over."
Smith ended with hashtags calling for justice for specific victims of racist violence, including Tony McDade, Nina Pop, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbory and Breonna Taylor. He also included the hashtags "defund the police" and "end white supremacy."
Smith's post picked up almost 68,000 likes in just one day, and many encouraging comments, including some from other Hollywood stars. Fans chimed in as well, most of whom knew Smith best for blockbuster movies like Jurassic World or Detective Pikachu. They praised him for speaking out even if it might pose a threat to his career in some contexts.