Jussie Smollett, who we all know and love as Jamal on Empire, came out to the general public during a backstage sit-down with Ellen DeGeneres, during which he made it clear that he's not trying to deny his identity as a gay man.

During the conversation, which happened after he filmed his onstage interview, Smollett told DeGeneres that he specifically wanted to come out to her:

"It was very, very important to me, as my first performance and talk show, that it was with you. You've been such an inspiration to so many, but also to me. What you've done in the LGBT community is very much, in my opinion, kind of like what Michael Jackson did in the black community—just that you are who you are. He was just Michael and you're just Ellen."

Smollett was previously asked about his sexuality during an appearance on Sway in the Morning and declined to answer it directly, saying he doesn't discuss his personal life. He told Ellen:

"It was really important to make sure that it got across that there is no closet. There's never been a closet that I've been in... I have a home and that is my responsibility, to protect that home. So that's why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is without a doubt no closet that I've ever been in."

Now, stop asking him if he's gay in real life:

"Let's not read into it in the wrong way when I say that I don't talk about my personal life...It is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. My mama knows. My mama likes me a lot."

Ellen then congratulated him for reppin'.

Image via Getty


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