Canceled TV Star’s New Movie To Be Released On Streaming

By Nathan Kamal | 2 weeks ago

Jussie Smollett

Jussie Smollett is set to release his directorial debut B-Boy Blues on BET+, the streaming platform focusing on content from Black creators. Per Variety, the film is an adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s well-regarded novel on gay male romance in the hip-hop community. It premiered at the ​​2021 American Black Film Festival in Miami, winning the Narrative Feature Fan Favorite Award. While Jussie Smollett himself did not act in the film, he did write the screenplay along with James Earl Hardy himself. B-Boy Blues has also become a series, now including six novels and one short story, along with a theatrical adaptation. 

Jussie Smollett was formerly an actor on the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong FOX drama Empire until a bizarre series of events led to him being found guilty of making false reports to the police. In January 2019, Smollett reported an alleged hate crime against himself to the Chicago police. At the time, he claimed he had been assaulted by two men in the early morning hours of Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood; he alleged that they had shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, placed a rope around his neck, and poured an unknown liquid on him. Jussie Smollett claimed that he had fought off the attackers and that he believed it had been motivated by his criticisms of the Trump Presidential Administration. 

Initially, public reaction was overwhelming on Jussie Smollet’s side and the incident became a focus of national attention. However, investigations by the Chicago Police Department began to find inconsistencies with the report. In February 2019, Smollett was charged with a class 4 felony for filing a false police report. He turned himself over to the police, who placed him under arrest, announcing they had concluded that the attack had been staged by Jussie Smollett himself. The Chicago Police believed that it was due to dissatisfaction with his pay from the Empire series.

In a confusing series of events, the initial charges were dropped, a special prosecutor was assigned to review the matter, and a second trial began. Jussie Smollett was eventually sentenced to 150 days in jail, probation, and a monetary fine. He is currently on release pending an appeal. It is worth mentioning that the two men who voluntarily staged the assault with him have not been charged with any crimes or conspiracy by the Chicago Police Department, and have allegedly mocked Jussie Smollett on social media regarding the matter. 

Jussie Smollett was fired from Empire during the course of the trial and his last filmed appearances remove from broadcast. He has not appeared in any shows or movies since his sentencing; however, like most celebrities who are “canceled,” it appears to only be a matter of time until he begins working in show business again. B-Boy Blues stars Timothy Richardson  ​as Mitchell and Thomas Mackey as Raheim, the central two figures of the novel, as well as Brandee Evans, Jabari Redd, and Marquise Vilson. Jussie Smollett’s first directional feature film will debut on BET+ on June 9.