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Jussie Smollett: Rise of the Golden Lyon

Jussie Smollett NOH8 Campaign
Jussie Smollett NOH8 Campaign

It’s safe to say that it’s GOOD to be Jussie Smollett. The talented and handsome singer/actor is having quite the Cinderfella year.  He began 2015 as part of the ensemble cast of the Fox musical drama Empire which debuted on January 7th.  The show’s premiere episode tied with ABC’s How to get away with murder as the biggest series debut of the 2014-2015 season and has since become a ratings supernova as each week the ratings have climbed higher and higher making it the HIGHEST rated new show of the season.

Smollett went from a relative unknown to an overnight sensation playing Jamal Lyon, an r&b singer (who happens to be gay) and the middle son of Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie (Taraji P Henson).  To many straight people, the gay male “stereotype” is an overly feminine and flamboyant person and though that might be in abundance (we all know a queen be it a friend, relative or coworker) it isn’t the only type of gay.  Jamal represents the modern day new millennium gay man, a man that’s just a man who’s attracted to other men.  Being gay isn’t about your outward appearance or having an over the top persona, it’s simply who you choose to love and give your heart to.  I can say this because it’s not only what I believe but because I’m gay.

Smollett has received major kudos from myself and the LGBT Community for being brave enough to portray a gay character on television, the diverse singer/actor recently posed for the NOH8 Campaign.  It’s quite motivating to see a straight man take part in a campaign raising awareness for equal rights and equality.  He and costar Taraji P Henson were the first of the Empire family to add their support to the campaign.

Max Hellion's NOH8 Campaign
Max Hellion’s NOH8 Campaign

Jussie and I have something in common.  In addition to having a great love for Empire, last spring I posed for the campaign and had the privilege of having my portrait added to the campaign’s ever growing collection of photos.

If the meteoric success of Empire wasn’t already enough good news, various blogs and websites have reported that Jussie has signed a recording contract with Columbia Records.  The powerhouse record label is the home of many talented artists including international phenomenon Adele, r&b soul crooner John Legend, vocal dynamo Celine Dion, hip hop prince J.Cole, the legendary Barbara Streisand herself and was even the original recording home of superstar Mariah Carey.  Smollett is in some very good company and all will be waiting with baited breath for the release of his album (I know I will and I HOPE he does a promo tour doing album signings in different cities because I’d LOVE to meet him and get his album signed).

Fans of Jussie and Empire do keep in mind that Smollett will be recording and releasing music as Jussie Smollett and not Jamal Lyon.  I say this because Jamal is a character that was created whom Jussie stepped into and brought to life.  As himself not only will he be the deciding factor as to the direction his album will take, but he may not necessarily have the sound/style people have to associate with him as Jamal.  Though it’s too early to know exactly what Jussie Smollett the artist will sound like (though he did release a digital ep, The Poisoned Hearts Club back in 2012) I’m sure whatever direction he takes it’ll be a good one that Empire and Jussie fans will collectively embrace.  CONTINUED success to you brother, good luck and I look forward to your debut album.

#JussieSmollett #Empire #Winning #ColumbiaRecords #RecordingArtist