Empire” actor and R&B singer Jussie Smollett has opened a Southern California concert with an emotional speech, saying he had to play the show because he couldn’t let his attackers win.

The long-planned concert at the Troubador in West Hollywood on Saturday night was Smollett’s first public appearance since he reported to police in Chicago Thursday that two masked men attacked him and put a rope around his neck while using homophobic and racial slurs.

Before singing a note, Smollett teared up as he told the crowd he’s not fully healed yet, but he will be, and his music will help him.

He said he couldn’t let the men who did this to him win, before breaking into an upbeat song and dancing across the stage.

The Troubadour headlines singer and actor Jussie Smollett on its marquee who performs in concert on Saturday, Feb. (AP Photo/Andrew Dalton)
The Troubadour headlines singer and actor Jussie Smollett on its marquee who performs in concert on Saturday, Feb. (AP Photo/Andrew Dalton)
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017 file photo, Jussie Smollett, from left, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Lee Daniels, Sanaa Hamri and Ilene Chaiken participate in the
FILE – In this Aug. 8, 2017 file photo, Jussie Smollett, from left, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Lee Daniels, Sanaa Hamri and Ilene Chaiken participate in the “Empire” panel during the FOX Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.