- Associated Press - Sunday, March 31, 2019

LOS ANGELES — Jussie Smollett, who lost to “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jessie Williams in the supporting actor in a drama series category, did not attend the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday night.

It has been a tumultuous week for the “Empire” star after a felony case against him was dropped in Chicago. The handling of the case, which accused Smollett of falsely reporting to police that he was assaulted by two men in downtown Chicago on Jan. 29, has drawn widespread condemnation.

Actor-comedian Chris Rock took verbal jabs at Smollett before he presented outstanding comedy series to ABC’s “black-ish.”

“They said no Jussie Smollett jokes,” Rock said. “Yeah, I know, but what a waste of light skin. Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair, my career would be out of here. I would be running Hollywood. What the hell was he thinking? You are known as ‘Jessie’ for now on. You don’t even get the ‘u’ anymore. That ‘u’ was for respect. You ain’t getting no respect from me.”

In response to Rock’s jokes, “black-ish” star Yara Shahidi made her stance in the Smollett controversy obvious.



“I stand with Jussie,” Shahidi said before she handed the microphone to Marcus Scribner and ducked into her crowd of castmates including Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross

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