Disgraced former Empire star and hate crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett is looking to relaunch his tattered Hollywood career with a directorial debut on the BET network.
According to Variety, Smollett is trading in his court witness chair for a director’s chair as BET+ has picked up B-Boy Blues, the first film he has directed.
The film is set to debut on the streaming service on June 9 as Pride Month kicks off.
B-Boy Blues is an adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s novel of the same name and stars Timothy Richardson, Thomas Mackey, Ledisi, Brandee Eans, Heather B, and Marquise Vilson. Smollett also wrote the script with Hardy’s assistance.
The film debuted at last year’s American Black Film Festival where it won the Narrative Feature Fan Favorite Award but had not found a distributor until BET stepped up.
The film follows a love affair between journalist Mitchell Crawford (Richardson) after he meets a bike messenger (Mackey) from Harlem.
“Through our content slate, we are intentional about representing the fullness of the Black experience, including that of the LGBTQ+ community,” BET+ exec VP/GM Devin Griffin explained about picking up rights to the film. “B-Boy Blues’ is an artful, heart-rending film about the complexity of love – something we all can relate to.”
Smollett, of course, has been convicted of lying about being the victim of a racially motivated attack in Chicago. The former TV star is currently out on bond while he appeals his conviction.
But if his sentence is upheld, Smollett faces 150 days in jail in Chicago’s Cook County Jail for lying to police about orchestrating a racist and homophobic attack against himself.
The now-convicted felon was also sentenced to 30 months of probation, ordered to pay a restitution of $120,106 and a fine of $25,000.
In January of 2019, Smollett claimed he was physically attacked by two men wearing red hats who put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, before eventually yelling, “This is MAGA country!” — a reference to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan.
During the trial, prosecutors showed how the former Empire actor had gone to extraordinary lengths to stage the attack on himself, and that he hired and paid Nigerian brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo $3,500 to carry out the staged attack.
Jussie Smollett continues to proclaim his innocence and still insists that the attack was real. He even recently released a song proclaiming his innocence.
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