Jussie Smollett says his Empire character Jamal is never dating white men.
Smollett talked about Jamal’s love life on the Sirius XM radio’s The Clay Cane Show, per The Huffington Post.
“There was talk about Jamal having a white boyfriend,” he said. “And I said, ‘F— no!’ Not for any reason, except we have a responsibility and we have such a beautiful opportunity to show two black men in a relationship together, in a healthy relationship.”
Even though black LGBTQ characters are becoming more prominent on television, seeing a black gay male couple on television is surprisingly rare. The only recent couple has been Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) and Ricky (Dyllon Burnside) on FX’s Pose, and of course, this is without counting the couples that appeared on Logo’s cult classic, Noah’s Arc.
Smollett said in the podcast, his decision regarding Jamal’s love life “wasn’t anything against white men.” But he wants Jamal’s relationships to be the type of representation he wished he’d seen when he was young.
“This is what I hope, this is what I want to see and this is what I wish I had seen as a kid,” he said. “If i had seen certain things as an adolescent, I would’ve had a much different understanding of who I am.”