I will always stand for love — Empire's Jussie Smollett

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Smollett has said two men yelled racist and homophobic remarks at him before beating him and putting a rope around his neck.

Police are also hoping to track down and speak to two potential persons of interest who can be seen in surveillance video near the area where the alleged assault took place.

Jussie Smollett participates in the "Empire" panel during the FOX Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton on August 8, 2017, in Beverly Hills, California.

"I had to be here tonight, y'all, I couldn't let those (expletives). win", he said, referring to his attackers.

"I'm the gay Tupac", he said, laughing. Taking the stage at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, he fought back tears as he said, "I had to be here tonight, y'all". Fortunately, his doctors gave him the okay to perform.

"I'm not fully healed yet, but I'm going to", he told a crowd of about 400 people on Saturday, speaking for the first time in public and in person about the incident. And I'm gonna stand strong with y'all. "I will only stand for love". "I'm the boss, I'm the leader". "The hateful rhetoric that gets passed around, it has to stop. Black, white, Asian, gay, straight - the whole vibe of the people who were all there in love". For security reasons, we can not accommodate any meet & greets. We are destined to fail to even exist.

Smollett's brother, Jojo, introduced him, saying, "There's been an outpouring of love and support ..." One of the men allegedly hit him in the face before pouring an "unknown substance" over his head and wrapping a noose around his neck.

After finishing his set, the crowd roared until he returned to play a song titled Powerful.

The matter is being investigated by Chicago police as a possible hate crime.

He added: "There are just a couple of points I wanted to make pretty quick...four points...."

He said he was bruised but his ribs were not cracked. "I sincerely wanted him to stay out of the public [eye] until he heals. And above all: I fought the f**k back".

Jael Allen was among the many fans who waited in a downpour before doors opened for Smollett's concert, which sold out shortly after news of the attack was publicized.

CNN's Don Lemon spoke to Smollett last week, and the actor told him he was shaken and angry that an attack like this could happen.

"Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning", the statement read.

"I have so many words on my heart", the 35-year-old said after hugging his family. Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love. "As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. Soon I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process". "It's all I know", he said. "And that can't be kicked out of me".

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