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Jussie Smollett Returns to Stage Days After Attack

“I had to be here tonight, y’all. I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win,” Empire actor says at Los Angeles’ Troubadour Saturday

Singer Jussie Smollett gestures onstage during his concert at The Troubadour, in West Hollywood, Calif. "Empire" actor and R&B singer Smollett opened the concert with an emotional speech, saying he had to play the show because he couldn't let his attackers win. The long-planned concert was Smollett's first public appearance since he reported to police in Chicago Tuesday that two masked men attacked him and put a rope around his neck while using homophobic and racial slursJussie Smollett Concert, West Hollywood, USA - 02 Feb 2019

Jussie Smollett returned to the stage at a Los Angeles club Saturday night, just days after the 'Empire' actor was attacked in Chicago.

Andrew Dalton/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Jussie Smollett returned to the stage at a Los Angeles club Saturday night, just days after the Empire actor was the victim in an attack that is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

“I had to be here tonight, y’all. I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win,” Smollett told the crowd of roughly 400 people at West Hollywood’s Troubadour. “So I will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than that. Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love.”

Smollett continued, “I’m okay… I’m not fully healed yet but I’m going to, and I’m going to stand strong with y’all.”

Smollett also touched on the attack itself, saying that, contrary to reports, he was never hospitalized following the attack (he instead went to a doctor) and that he didn’t suffer cracked ribs, the Associated Press reports. Doctors in both Los Angeles and Chicago, where the incident occurred, both cleared Smollett to perform Saturday’s show.

According to police, two still-unidentified men yelled “racial and homophobic slurs” toward Smollett as the actor walked home on a Chicago street. “The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. During the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck,” the Chicago Police Department said.

“The hateful rhetoric that gets passed around, it has to stop. But guess what, it stops with the people that believe in love,” Smollett told the crowd Saturday. “Be as black, be as brown, be as gay as the fuck you want to be. Now is the time: Be blacker, be gayer, do it right the fuck now.”

Saturday’s concert was Smollett’s first public appearance since the attack. On Friday, the actor released a statement that read in part, “I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”

Prior to Smollett’s performance, his family appeared on stage and addressed the audience

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