*In this new episode of our For the Record podcast, host Lee Bailey joins longtime friend and colleague Steven Ivory for another conversation about current events that are impacting the industry and the culture.
Jussie Smollett, star of Fox’s “Empire” (for now), was indicted by a grand jury in Chicago on 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime. The prosecutor dropped all charges 17 days later, and now black America is divided.
Some of us have that secret O.J. glee of a black man being able to game the racist criminal justice system…allegedly. Others feel that his alleged greed-fueled lies have undercut the credibility of future hate crime claims, and that, alone, should at least warrant a day in court. Then, there are those of us who go back and forth between both of these feelings.
Will Jussie ever work again? At age 36, is he too young to understand “how long it took in this country for us to have a hate crime defined as such?” asks Steve. Why did he drag his mama into his most recent statement? What’s the deal with prosecutor Kim Foxx?
On the topic of Nipsey Hussle, the Los Angeles-based rapper/entrepreneur who was gunned down outside of his clothing store on Sunday, the two look at the broader issue of a successful black person choosing to remain rooted in the community … usually at his or her own peril. “Here we are with a guy doing all this good in the neighborhood, but you still got a guy who has a beef with him, who wants to settle it the only way he knows how to settle it, which is to kill somebody,” says Ivory.
In finding the silver lining in this “senseless” tragedy, he continues: “It’s absolutely a wonderful thing when in his death we can all say what good he has done. …We very seldom have a death followed by a eulogy that is that glowing, and that wonderful, and that hopeful.”
“I hate to go back to Jussie,” Ivory concludes, “but I just have to say look at how one man lived his life, and look at how the other one lived his life.”
Listen to our entire For the Record podcast above.