Jussie Smollett up for NAACP Award, Anthony Anderson hopes he wins

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‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a hate-crime attack, was dropped of all charges by prosecutors. How does the FBI define a hate-crime attack? We explain.
USA TODAY

Just days after the prosecutors dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett, who had been indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct, the “Empire” actor could again make headlines.

Smollett is nominated for the 2019 NAACP Image Awards, scheduled for Saturday. Six-time host and “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson told Variety on Wednesday that he hopes to see the controversial actor there.

“I hope he wins,” Anderson added. “I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color. So I’m glad it worked out for him.” 

When asked whether or not Smollett would be in attendance at the award ceremony this year, representative Pamela Sharp told USA TODAY she did “not have that information as of now.” 

This is the fourth consecutive year Smollett has been nominated in the Image Awards’ Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category. He previously won in that category in 2017 and has also nabbed three different music-related Image Awards for his work on “Empire,” according to IMDb. He’s been in attendance for the last three award shows.

“It’s not my place or any other person’s place to judge him or what not, but I’m glad the he’s nominated,” Anderson concluded. “I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech.”

More: Jussie Smollett case timeline: Charges dropped against actor who went from victim to suspect

More: Taraji P. Henson is ‘happy’ for Jussie Smollett: ‘Thank God the truth prevailed’

Prosecutors announced the dropped charges against Smollett in a surprise hearing Tuesday.

“I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since Day 1,” Smollett told reporters after the charges were dropped. “It’s been an incredibly difficult time. One of the worst of my entire life. … Now I would like nothing more than to just to get back to work and get on with my life.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson expressed outrage later that day during a joint press conference in which they criticized prosecutors and upheld accusations of Smollett’s guilt. 

“This is a whitewash of justice,” Emanuel said. “It’s Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax. He’s still saying he’s innocent, still running down the Chicago Police Department. How dare he? How dare he? It is wrong. Full stop.”

Contributing: Aamer Madhani, Maria Puente

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