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Disgraced former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett released a single Friday proclaiming his innocence of faking a hate crime, shortly after being released from jail.
Smollett released the single, titled “Thank You, God,” on several major music streaming services. In the song, Smollett asserts his innocence regarding the faking of a hate crime in 2019, and fires back at critics who “politicized” the controversy. The song also features a chorus in which he sings “thank you, God, for showing me my enemies.” A clip of the song was released to Smollett’s Instagram account, which is run by his family, according to the account’s biography line. The caption under the clip said that proceeds from the song would go to support the Rainbow Push Coalition, STB Safety, and the Illinois Innocence Project.
The clip opens with a note from Smollett to fans. “Channeling these thoughts the best way I know how,” Smollett wrote. In the clip, Smollett asserts his innocence, and seemingly blames the criminal justice system for ignoring issues of race and homophobia:
It’s like they’re hell-bent on not solving the crime
Taking out the elements of race and trans and homophobia that’s straight taking lives
But turn around and act like I’m the one that killed the strides
He then appears to claim that those who turned his hate crime hoax into a public scandal were looking out for social media attention, and that he wasn’t “stupid enough” to kill his reputation by faking a hate crime:
But I can’t be mad
Take my ego out
Some people searching for fame
Some people chasing that clout
Just remember this
This ain’t that situation
You think I’m stupid enough to kill my reputation?
Just simply to look like a victim like it’s something fun
Y’all better look at someone else, you got the wrong one
Smollett goes on to thank the people who stayed by his side when the controversy broke, and claims that the media narrative is the reason those around him “felt betrayed”:
Wait, let me rephrase that
Cause the narrative they played
I really “over-stand” the reason why y’all felt betrayed
Smollett also referenced film director Lee Daniels and CNN anchor Don Lemon, saying he still had good will toward them, even after both figures distanced themselves from Smollett after his alleged hate crime was outed as a hoax:
They had my own people
Thoughts going off the wall
That’s why from L.D. to Don I still got love for y’all
I know we’ll meet again
Talk like real men
Instead of sharing shade in rooms and up on CNN
Smollett ends the clip, saying that he is “pushing through the clouds,” and that all he ever wanted to was “make his people proud”:
Thunder’s mad loud
Still I’m pushing through the clouds
All I ever wanted to do was make my people proud
Fame is nothing real, it’s how you make them feel
Celebrity is for the birds, I ain’t no man of steel
The full song, nearly 6 minutes long, has fewer than 1,600 plays on YouTube as of publication of this article, and the New York Post notes less than 6,000 plays on Spotify.
Smollett was convicted on five of six counts of disorderly conduct, which included lying to police. He was sentenced in December to 150 days in jail, followed by 30 months on probation, and ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution and $25,000 in fines. He was released from jail in March, pending appeal.
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