Black Conservatives to NAACP: Why Is Jussie Smollett Still Being Considered for an Image Award?

By Melanie Arter | March 18, 2019 | 2:31pm EDT
Actor Jussie Smollett (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

( – Actor Jussie Smollett is still being considered for an NAACP Image Award despite being charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police and staging a racist attack against himself.

A black conservative group, Project 21, is calling on the NAACP to rescind Smollett’s nomination, saying the civil rights group “needs to make it clear that his behavior is not OK.”

"Everyone has a reason to be disappointed with Jussie Smollett right now, and these accumulated reasons justify the NAACP taking swift and appropriate action to remove him from consideration for its Image Award," Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II said in a statement.

"Smollett is charged with perpetrating a hate crime hoax that wasted valuable police resources and stoked racial tensions nationwide. It hurt our nation's ability to heal its racial wounds and made the NAACP's civil rights goals harder to achieve. The NAACP needs to make it clear that his behavior is not OK by removing him from contention for an Image Award," Nedd added.



Smollett is being considered for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” his role as Jamal Lyon on the Fox series “Empire.”

"Jussie Smollett was charged with 16 counts of disorderly misconduct for allegedly lying to the Chicago police, who said the actor orchestrated a racist and homophobic hate crime against himself," said Project 21 member Jerome Hudson in a statement.

"The NAACP was founded to help move America beyond our deeply racist past. Generations of men and women - both black and white - have dedicated their lives to that noble cause. It would be nothing short of a slap in the face to those civil rights heroes for the NAACP to now honor Smollett with an Image Award while he's suspected of using symbols of racial barbarism - including a noose - to shamelessly advance and promote his career," Hudson added.

The same day that Smollett reported being attacked by two white Trump supporters, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson blamed President Donald Trump, saying his “racist and xenophobic rhetoric” was responsible for “the rise in hate crimes.”

“The recent racist and homophobic attack on acclaimed actor and activist Jussie Smollett is troubling. The rise in hate crimes is directly linked to President Donald J. Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric,” Johnson said in a statement on the NAACP website on Jan. 29.

“It is dangerous for any society to allow a tone of divisiveness and hatred to dominate the political discourse. As this rhetoric continues to bleed into our everyday lives, dangerous behavior will continue to place many law-abiding individuals at risk. We pray for a full physical and mental recovery Jussie Smollett and many unnamed victims of this forum of hate based terrorism,” Johnson said at the time.

The day after Chicago police claimed Smollett faked the attack and announced that he was considered a suspect in a criminal investigation for filing a false police report and was charged with felony disorderly conduct, the NAACP issued another statement.

“We are shocked and saddened at the turn of events in the #JussieSmollett case. We didn’t believe him because he was famous, we believed him because homophobia, racism, and bigotry are, for many, a daily occurrence,” Johnson tweeted on Feb. 21.

"More than enough time has passed for the NAACP to revoke Jussie Smollett's Image Award nomination, and yet it hasn't. Why?" Project 21 member Derryck Green asked.

"That the so-called civil rights organization hasn't rescinded Smollett's nomination in light of the evidence released by the Chicago Police Department, the lie-filled interview with Robin Roberts and a grand jury's decision to indict him on 16 counts of felonious disorderly conduct leads many to believe the NAACP has once again chosen racial solidarity over truth and integrity,” he added.

“Smollett embarrassed himself. He's a fraud. The NAACP should distance itself from Smollett and not continue to damage what's left of its reputation," Green said.

Project 21 member Richard Holt wondered why the NAACP would “want to nominate a hate crime hoaxer for an Image Award.”

“It would only do so to perpetuate the image of hatred and bigotry that keeps the antiquated organization relevant in the 21st century," Holt said in a statement.

"Since it can't seem to legitimize its continued existence by fighting for real black issues – such as black entrepreneurial access to capital, judicial reform and the black genocide conducted by Planned Parenthood – it will follow the typical leftist racism trope,” he said.

“Maybe the NAACP should get back to its roots so we can all imagine a version of the organization that seeks to help people of color get to the mountain's peak that is within arm's length," Holt added.

The NAACP Image Awards is set to air live on TV One on March 30.


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