Empire star Jussie Smollett did a photo shoot for Kode Magazine. Check it out below.
Photos By | Scott Hoover
Fashion + Art Direction | AllanTroy of The Kurators
Grooming | Maria Gomez
Kode | Jamal’s story is so heart provoking and inspirational. Its not common to see a gay black male being portrayed. Was it a lot of pressure preparing for the role?
Jussie | Well because the character is based on Lee Daniels, it wasn’t really a pressure, but more of a responsibility to simply tell the truth. That’s something I embrace and love about playing Jamal. He’s such a layered character who is not clear cut black or white, there’s so many shades of grey to who he is, ya know? I love him.
Kode | Were you expecting such a huge response on Empire when first starting?
Jussie | You know as an artist you pray and you work hard, but you can never really be certain that something will resonate with people the way Empire has. Some of the best projects made are only seen by those who make them. But I did know that it would be critically acclaimed because of the incredible cast, and obviously because of Lee Daniels and Danny Strong. But what it’s becoming is mind blowing!
Kode | Give us a day in the life of Jussie before the Empire fame?
Jussie | Life was kind of the indie version of what it is now. I was actually recording my album in a home studio off of Fairfax with my producer David, while hustling and working a bunch of different jobs so I could pay my bills, to continue doing what I knew I wanted to do.
Kode | Do you have any solo music coming out soon or are you just focused on acting at this current moment?
Jussie | I’m always focused on my music because it’s such a huge piece of my heart, right now my focus is on creating the music for Empire Season 2, but once I get a little down time I will focus more on my personal project.
Kode | What’s next for season 2? Hopefully more celebrity appearances right?
Jussie | Definitely more celebrity appearances, but not in the way that you would necessarily think. It’s really clever the way the stories are all being worked in. There’s also going to be some dope moments of true, raw new talent that’s going to blow your mind.
Kode | What’s something you can’t live without?
Jussie | Love.
Kode | How would you describe your personal style?
Jussie | Carey Grant had sex with Basquiat and had a baby named me.
Since #Kode6 is our #WetHot issue, we thought we would ask you something steamy, Boxers or Briefs?
Jussie | Boxer Briefs, normally briefs with a suit. Never boxers, I can’t stand boxers, go to stay lifted.