Jussie Smollett’s career has skyrocketed since Empire’s premiere. Although Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon, is gay, Smollett has never mentioned his own sexual orientation publicly—he has even gone so far as not to answer when he’s been asked about it—but his co-star did it for him.
Malik Yoba, who plays Vernon Turner on Empire, recently put Smollett’s personal business on front street. In an interview with BlackFilm.com, Yoba discussed how important it is to shed light on homosexuality in the black community, but in doing so, he outted his co-star.
I think that our show represents a huge opportunity to stay in the culture beyond entertainment value and there’s an intrinsic nature [if] you have the gay factor, right? So, obviously, Lee is gay. That was an important storyline for him. I think it’s important for people to see themselves. Even within the Black community. But if you aren’t really, really taking it off of screen and making it live in the community in a significant way … like I know Jussie, he is gay, and he’s very committed to issues around the LGBT community. He and I have a very close relationship.