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‘Black-ish’ actor hopes nominated Jussie Smollett wins NAACP Image Award; ‘happy’ a black person worked the system

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Actor Anthony Anderson is hoping Jussie Smollett will win at the upcoming NAACP Image Awards and believes that “the system worked for” him.

The “Black-ish” star will return for the for the sixth consecutive year as host of the award show which airs March 30 and he hopes Smollett will be there, and that he receives an award for his work on the hit Fox series, “Empire.”

“I hope to see him here,” Anderson told Variety on Wednesday, just one day after the Cook County State Attorney’s Office dropped all 16 felony charges of disorderly conduct against Smollett for an alleged false report he filed in January claiming he was the victim of a hate crime.

“I hope he wins. 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,” Anderson contended.

“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,” he said of the 36-year-old actor who is nominated for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series.

“I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech,” Anderson said.

Despite Smollett being indicted by a grand jury, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who recused herself from the case in February, dropped the charges. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police blasted the decision in scathing rebukes Wednesday, releasing the complete 61-page investigative report in the alleged staged hate crime.

Smollett has not been exonerated, however, and further criminal charges can still be brought against him. An FBI investigation is still pending on the threatening letter Smollett claimed he received while on the “Empire” set of the Chicago Fox studio. The actor could face up to a decade in prison if he is found guilty of sending himself the hate mail laced with white powder days ahead of the staged attack.

Smollett has maintained his innocence and told reporters on Tuesday that he has “been truthful and consistent on every level since day one.”

Anderson spoke about his support of Smollett in the upcoming 50th NAACP Image Awards, saying in an interview with Extra recently, “I hope he wins, I hope everyone wins!”

“I am glad everything has worked out for him,” Anderson added. “I hope he is here so he can celebrate with his community, with his family, and with his friends.”

Former NBA superstar, Charles Barkley, had a different take, however, telling television host Stephen Colbert that he was standing by his initial “sound advice” to Smollett last month.

“I think that we all lose. I think my black friends, my gay black friends, I think they lose because there’s all repercussions when you’re a minority. There’s always a double standard. You have to understand that and accept that. For every black, gay person out there, we lost. And it’s unfortunate,” Barkley said during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Wednesday.

“I don’t know that kid, I wish him nothing but the best …but you always have to look at the bigger picture,” Barkley said.

The retired pro basketball player, who is currently an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” believes the already “tenuous” relationship between the black community and police was further damaged by Smollett’s alleged hoax.

“We made the cops look really bad in this scenario and there’s probably going to be some resentment,” Barkley said. “And the bottom line is: Everybody lost in this scenario. It’s not good.”

Frieda Powers


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