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Jussie Smollett opens up about regrets, public ridicule and Taraji P. Henson in first post-prison interview

Karu F. Daniels, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

“If I had done something like this, it would mean that I stuck my fist in the pain of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years … It would mean that I stuck my fist in the fears of the LGBTQ community, all over the world.”

The 40-year-old Santa Rosa, Calif., native told Calloway he spent 6½ days in jail.

Admitting he was in “the f—ing psych ward,” he wasn’t in a straitjacket.

“I was sleeping on like a restraint bed,” Smollett added. “I wasn’t restrained and I have to keep it real, everybody inside was very kind. And when I left, I thanked them all..”

However, it’s a whole other story for his so-called friends and close associates who spoke out against him.


“I do hold some people accountable for the things that they said, for the things that they did, for the ways that they reacted because half of those people should have picked up the f---ing phone and called me because they had my number, you know? And they didn’t,” he said.

One person who didn’t turn his back on him was Taraji P. Henson, the Golden Globe Award-winning actress who portrayed his mother on “Empire.” The two have maintained a tight connection throughout the scandal — even working together professionally on his latest endeavor, directing and producing a feature film adaptation of the 1994 best-selling novel “B-Boy Blues.”

“That is my heart. Taraji supported the film. Taraji gave me money for the film,” Smollett said. In return, he utilized her TPH scalp and hair care line in product placements throughout the LGBTQ+ romantic drama, currently streaming on BET+.

“It is unexplainable how much I love that woman. And she is literally one of my best friends in the whole world.”

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