Embattled Empire actor Jussie Smollett is making a small return to the entertainment world with his directorial debut B-Boy Blues. The film, which originally premiered at the 2021 American Black Film Festival, is now set to debut on BET+ Thursday, June 9, per Variety.
Based on James Earl Hardy’s book, B-Boy Blues is “a clash of class and culture when Mitchell Crawford, a college educated journalist from Brooklyn and Raheim Rivers, a bike messenger from Harlem, fall in love.”
In addition to Smollett directing and co-writing with Hardy, the film stars Timothy Richardson (David Makes Man) as Mitchell and Thomas Mackie as Raheim.
It’s great that BET+ is delivering original content for Pride month, let’s just hope Smollett’s recent legal problems don’t overshadow what could be a very interesting movie. The Underground actor has been out of Hollywood since he falsely claimed he was the victim of a hate crime.
Back in January 2019, the actor said he was physically assaulted by two men who also used racist and homophobic slurs. As the investigation progressed, Chicago police began to believe he staged the whole thing. After his arrest and what felt like an endless trial, Smollett was found guilty on five felony charges of disorderly conduct for lying to police about the attack. He was then sentenced to 150 days in jail and 30 months probation, however he was released on appeal and is currently a free man.
The whole ordeal has had a crippling effect on his career, with very few professionals willing to take the risk of working with him right now. He has received support from his former Empire mom Taraji P. Henson, who following his sentencing, showed her love on Instagram. She wrote in part: “No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING! To me as an artist not able to create that in itself is punishment enough. He can’t get a job. No one in Hollywood will hire him and again as an artist who loves to create, that is prison.”
Whether or not B-Boy Blues streaming on BET+ is the first step to him getting his career back remains to be seen. However, it is a step and that’s more than anyone was expecting for him six months ago.
B-Boy Blues premieres on BET+ Thursday, June 9.