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Whitlock: Jussie Smollett and his grandmother believe he is Nelson Mandela

Op-ed
Allan Tannenbaum / Contributor, Nuccio DiNuzzo / Stringer, JP Yim / Stringer, Bill Pugliano / Stringer | Getty Images

Inside a Chicago courtroom early Thursday evening, the man Jesse Jackson described as a “well-known, nonviolent, black, gay man of Jewish heritage” cast himself as Nelson Mandela.

As sheriffs escorted civil rights actorvist Jussie Smollett to a Cook County jail cell, the convicted felon thrust his half-black fist into the air, declared his innocence, and shouted “I am not suicidal.”

Bizarre does not adequately describe the courtroom proceedings that ended with a judge sentencing Smollett to 150 days in jail and 30 months of probation and the former TV star emphatically posturing as a political prisoner, America’s Mandela.

Smollett arrived at his sentencing “fashionably” late, like a celeb taking his NBA Finals courtside seat minutes after tipoff. On the way into the courtroom, Smollett, his entourage, and bodyguards shoved their way past members of the media, knocking one man to the ground. Once inside, Smollett’s nightmare team of lawyers and character witnesses constantly relitigated the five guilty verdicts from his race-hoax trial, condescendingly lectured the judge, and displayed a level of arrogance, entitlement, and cluelessness that would embarrass an off-the-wagon Hunter Biden.

Apparently there’s no stronger delusion than half-black privilege.

Smollett’s 92-year-old white grandmother hammered that point. Ninety minutes before her grandson began his long walk to freedom, Smollett’s granny took the witness stand and threw herself into the role of Winnie ManKaren. She blasted the media for failing to properly investigate the events that turned her spoiled heir into a five-time felon. She wagged her finger at the judge, telling him:

“I ask you, judge, not to send him to prison. And if you do, send me along with him, okay?”

Judge James Linn scolded and berated Smollett for half an hour before rendering Smollett’s sentence for premeditating an elaborate, buffoonish, and farcical racial hate-crime hoax and repeatedly lying about it to police, a jury, and the judge.

“You’re just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime, and that’s shameful,” the judge said. “You’re profoundly arrogant and selfish and narcissistic.”

The description applies to many of Smollett’s high-profile supporters, particularly Jesse Jackson and Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP. Jackson, Johnson, and Smollett exemplify the pervasive exploitation, perversion, and commercialization of the 1950s and '60s civil rights movement. A righteous, dignified movement that fought for freedom and opportunity for everyday black people has been turned into a branding hu$tle for celebrities and other elites. They stand on the necks and backs of dead career criminals, feign outrage, enhance their brands and/or move up the corporate ladder, and use their growing wealth to move closer to white people, white neighborhoods, white schools, and so-called white supremacy.

Jussie Smollett made it to the promised land, the land where Barack Obama, Colin Kaepernick, Brian Flores, Meghan Markle, Trevor Noah, Don Lemon, and other elite BIPOCs are told the truth doesn’t apply to them. They exist in a bubble of delusion and confusion created specifically for them by their liberal political puppet masters and policed by corporate media.

Smollett was groomed for this bubble since birth. His family clearly nurtured and fed the arrogance, selfishness, and narcissism Judge Linn found “astounding.” There’s no other explanation for Smollett’s family’s unhinged desperation to shield him from the consequences of his race hoax. Had Smollett’s grandmother and brother been motivated by love, they would have been far less defiant, angry, and smug at Thursday’s sentencing. Guilt explains their tone and behavior.

They created Frankenstein. They’ve been the supporting actors in Jussie’s Nelson Mandela cosplay for four decades. They simply stayed in character after hearing the sentence, claiming Smollett’s 150-day verdict was another example of the discrimination American black men face in the criminal justice system.

Smollett melted down.

“I am innocent, and I’m not suicidal,” Smollett declared after initially declining to speak. “If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBT community. Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury. But I did not do this, and I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that.”

Smollett definitely did it to himself. No one is denying that. He destroyed his name, reputation, and career three years ago when he foolishly claimed white, MAGA-hat-wearing thugs lassoed him with a noose and tried to harm him. Smollett destroyed his chance at avoiding jail time by instructing his army of lawyers to behave as though their client was the last innocent man and a victim of political revenge.

In the immediate aftermath of his hoax, Smollett told NBC’s Robin Roberts that he was the target of violence because of his criticism of the sitting president, Donald Trump. Smollett’s posse of enablers – his family, Jesse Jackson, and social media – convinced the B-list actor that Trump represented American apartheid and that Jussie was the half-black, gay Nelson Mandela.

Smollett is a victim. He’s a victim of CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Twitter, and Facebook. Corporate and social media radicalized Smollet. They did the same thing to half of America. They developed and released the Trump derangement virus that ignited a five-year-and-still-counting pandemic of irrational behavior. The same platforms radicalized a significant number of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol. One of the president’s supporters – Ashli Babbitt – was murdered; many others remain in jail or have been handed long prison sentences.

Smollett may never realize how easy he got off.

Ashli Babbitt has far more in common with Nelson Mandela than Jussie Smollett. And she wasn’t suicidal, either.

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