What does it say about me that, when I heard that “Empire” star Jussie Smollet was nearly assassinated by smirking MAGA teens, my first thought was, I hope he’s not making this shit up for attention?
(Note: Don’t answer that question.)
My mind of course flashed back to Tawana Brawley, the young African-American woman who, in the late ‘80s, accused four white men, including cops and a judge, of sexually assaulting her in a manner that was beneath even R. Kelly. Come to find out, she’d assaulted herself, like Edward Norton in the movie Fight Club.
Thirty-plus years after the fact, Brawley is only ever invoked in the context of attempting to discredit the Rev. Al “Mr. 'do” Sharpton—not because he’s a former coke dealer and a known FBI informant, but because he’s always trying to sue the police for beating an unarmed black man like a rented mule, or worse!
It just goes to show how black men are often made to suffer for the misdeeds of other groups.
Which brings us back to Smollet. He claims that he was walking to a Subway in Chicago at 2 AM in -20 degree weather, as one does, when he was set upon by smirking MAGA teens—presumably not the same ones from the incident, a few weeks ago, involving a pro-life youth group; a proud, silent Native American pretending to have been in 'Nam; and the Black Hebrew Israelites.
Smollet claims that his assailants called him the dreaded n-word and the other f-word, put a shoe on him, poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck and yelled “MAGA country,” but that he was able to fight them off, perhaps summoning a rage that stems from unresolved issues in his relationship with his father. (I’m just speculating.)
After the incident, Smollet walked home with the rope still around his neck, where he first encountered 5-0, and then checked himself into a hospital. (He’s lucky that rope didn’t get caught on something.) Initially Smollet told TMZ, but not the police, the bit about “MAGA country.” The alt-right, on Twitter, seized on this as evidence that he was just making this shit up.
Since then, it’s been alleged that, during the attack, Smollet was on the phone with his agent, who heard the alleged hate-criminals yell “MAGA country.” But Chicago PD has yet to be able to confirm that such a call took place. Smollet says he’s “not comfortable” handing over his phone. He might have some pictures of his peen on there, for sliding into other guys’ DMs.
The police pored over thousands of hours of surveillance footage looking for the attackers, to no avail. They did find video of Smollet walking home from Subway. Later, they found video of two guys walking down a street nearby, maybe 15 minutes before the attack. This was presented, on all the worst sites on the Internets, as them having found video of the attack. I was deeply disappointed, but not because I was looking forward to seeing a fight video.
While I’ve chuckled at a World Star video or two in my day, I wouldn’t watch the Smollet video so much as once, to confirm that it’s not just video of him rolling around in the dirt and punching himself in the face, let alone block out an entire afternoon to watch it on repeat, due to my deep understanding of, and respect for, the concept of intersectionality.
Furthermore, I take no solace in the fact that smirking MAGA teens are apparently only targeting gay black men, and I’m therefore free to purchase garbage-quality lunch meats whenever I feel like it, as one of the more identifiably heterosexual black men, due to my generally slovenly appearance and what doctors like to call “a bit of a weight problem.”
Having said that, I’d encourage MAGA teens not to shift their focus. Lord knows I’ve got enough problems as it is.
Take it easy on yourself,