Malik Yoba Says He Was ‘Misquoted’ After Discussing ‘Empire’ Co-Star Jussie Smollett’s Sexuality

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Sexuality speculation ain’t nothing to play with when it comes to black men.

In the case of black men and the discussion of their sexuality after speculation arises is still a taboo within the black community.

For a myriad of reasons, not many  men want to be questioned nor do they want to be under a microscope of  guessing games either.

Whether you’re straight or gay, the debate still remains as to whether or not a man’s sexuality should be publicly divulged. While opinions will always vary concerning the matter, “do you really care?” will always be a question.

Take “Empire” co-star Malik Yoba

According to MadameNoire, Yoba told Black Film that Jussie Smollet is actually gay in real life.  Smollett does have numerous acting credits to his name.

One of which is called “The Skinny” where his character was the focal point of the plot in a gay-themed film. The commonality between Jamal Lyon on “Empire” and Magnus (The Skinny) in the film is that their sexual orientation is the same.

Yoba apparently retracted his statement citing he was “misquoted” when asked about his co-star. Check out his words below:

“I think that our show represents a huge opportunity to stay in the culture beyond entertainment value and there’s an intrinsic nature of 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.”

After Yoba’s words went public, the critical backlash became a weapon used against him. Let’s say if Smollett was indeed gay in his personal life, we don’t have the rights to blast people’s personal lives in a cavalier manner.

Therefore, more consideration and just simple respect should suffice when discussing your co-workers publicly.


Yoba did later perform damage control explaining that he was only referring to Smollett’s character as Jamal on FOX’s “Empire”:

“I was misquoted in the article. My reference to Jussie was only about his character and storyline on Empire.”

On Feb. 13, Smollett made an appearance on “Sway in the Morning” and was asked about his sexuality. Smollett explained he didn’t care at all that people tie his sexuality directly in with his character, but he understands it.

Smollett explains:

 “I’m not willing to confirm or deny anything. I live my life. If someone is looking for a box to put me in, that’s not going to happen. I live my life, and if you really want to know about me, just watch, because I don’t hide anything. I just don’t choose to talk about my personal life.”

What can be deemed as “problematic” about Smollett’s answer is that many spectators, who do care, prefer a “yes” or “no” answer.

When you keep people guessing through using neutrality as your defense, it doesn’t take away unwanted attention; it can heighten it.

Because no amount of lectures will ever counteract the opposition some may feel about homosexuality; part of our humanitarian efforts should still have an influence of God’s purpose.

“Love they neighbor as thyself. There is no greater commandment than these” is based off Mark 12:31. God preached love for all mankind, not a conditional haphazard.

Check out Smollett’s interview below:


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