Jussie Smollett returned to the public eye after allegedly suffering a savage attack.
The African American, openly gay Empire star sang for a sold-out crowd in West Hollywood on Saturday night, February 2, 2019.
It was the first time Smollett, 35, had been publicly seen since he reported to police in Chicago earlier in the week that two masked men had attacked him and put a rope around his neck while using homophobic and racial slurs.
The actor told the audience before performing, with tears in his eyes, that he's not fully healed yet.
He's turned to his music for comfort, and commented, "I couldn't let the motherf**kers win."
Fans screamed their support in response.
"I will always stand for love, I will never stand for anything other than that," Smollett added.
However, some have questioned Smollett's attack story after he refused to hand over his phone to police.
Cops have released a photo of "persons of interest," but reportedly have so far been unable to corroborate details of the alleged beating.
Scroll through RadarOnline.com's gallery for more on Smollett's return to public life.
Smollett's siblings hugged and introduced him on the famed Troubadour stage. As Radar reported, Smollett, 35, was hospitalized after two people allegedly attacked him in an alley in what police believe was a hate crime. Smollett said they screamed racial and homophobic slurs at him.
"My family and I have realized that tonight is an important part of Jussie's healing. You see, he's been a fighter since he was a baby," his brother Joel Smollett Jr. said before the actor performed on stage on Saturday night.
Smollett's show was attended by Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, who chatted with his family members. Also cheering the Empire star on were actor Jai Rodriguez and film producer Lee Daniels.
In front of the enthusiastic crowd, Smollett, who plays tortured pop star Jamal Lyon on Empire, thanked his boyfriend for supporting him through his attack ordeal. He performed his song "Haha (I Love You)" for the man.
Smollett told the audience that his ribs had been bruised as he'd fought back against his attackers, referring to himself as the "gay Tupac." The rapper was murdered in 1996 and his killer(s) have never been found. Earlier in the day, Smollett covered his face while riding in a car, but proudly sang his heart out at the gig.
The actor's fans were outraged after he said he was punched, had bleach poured on him and had noose put around his neck. The Chicago police investigation is ongoing.
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