“Life is spiritual warfare, and we’re seeing it right before our very eyes. You just have to stay close to what you know,” Henson said Monday morning on the “Today” show.
“Jussie is love. That’s who he is. And that’s all he knows,” she added. “In this situation, hate won’t win. It will not.”
Smollett, a gay black actor who plays the character Jamal Lyon on Fox’s “Empire,” reported he was attacked in Chicago last week by two unidentified masked men. Chicago police told HuffPost that the men began “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs” before physically attacking the Smollett. The assailants reportedly “poured an unknown chemical substance,” possibly bleach, on him, police said, and one of the men wrapped a rope around his neck.
The “Empire” actor told police in a follow-up interview his attackers yelled “MAGA country” after the assault, referring to President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make American Great Again.”
“Just stay the Jussie that everybody loves, and you saw the outpour of love that he had. He has touched a lot of people in his career,” she said. “So I just told him, just walk in your truth baby. No one can take that from you.”
Chicago police and FBI are investigating the assault as a possible hate crime, and are collecting video and looking for potential witnesses.
Smollett spoke out for the first time since the alleged assault in a Friday statement.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett told Essence. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words.”
He also addressed skepticism about his account, saying he has been “100 percent factual and consistent on every level” with authorities.
“Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread,” he said, “I still believe that justice will be served.”