• Janet Smollett is a mother of six children, including actor Jussie Smollett.
• She was an active member of the American civil rights movement when she was young.
• She passed on her values to her children, and they often celebrated holidays and milestones together.
• Jussie Smollett was charged with setting up a mock hate crime against herself and filing a false police report.
• Janet has a net worth of approximately $250,000 as of early 2020.
A mother of actors, Janet Smollett came into limelight when her son and “Empire” breakaway star, Jussie Smollett, committed a fake hate crime against herself and filed a false police report.
Early life and family
Janet Faye Harris was born on November 27, 1952 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA of Afro-American ethnicity. No information is available about her family and growing up years except that she was an active member of the American civil rights movement when she was young, along with Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, who were the founders of the Black Panther Party. It is said that one of her first mentors was Julian Bond, a leader of the civil rights movement. Her level of education has not been disclosed, but she is reported to be a teacher.
Jussie Smollett and his mother Janet Smollett ????.
Posted by Jussie Smollett fan family on Saturday December 10, 2016
Janet is from New Orleans and Joel Smollett is from New York, and they met in the Bay Area campaigning for civil rights. Born on October 8, 1956, Joel is Jewish and the son of migrants from Russia and Poland. They were married and have six children: Jojo, Jazz, Jussie, Jurnie, Jake and Jocqui. The family lived a nomadic lifestyle, moving thirteen times from coast to coast across the US; however, it was not revealed why they lived this way and for how long, presumably because of their support for the civil rights movement. Wherever they ended up staying, Janet had a ritual where she turned planks of hardwood into a long table, which usually took three days to complete.
Here she served home-cooked meals to her children and celebrated holidays and other milestones. Another tradition they have is that the children performed during birthdays and Mother’s Day celebrations. Singing, dance-offs and poetry readings were the standard entertainment. Aside from creating happy memories as a family, all these events helped the kids grow closer together.
She made sure the kids played sports, read poetry by Langston Hughes, and knew characters like Malcolm X. She taught her children never to argue because they would get into trouble. However, if someone bullies them, they should stand up for themselves. When they were young, they were given toys by their mother when they got into a fight to defend themselves, a sibling, or a friend.
She instilled in them a strong sense of justice – of speaking up and fighting for what is right and what they believed in.
Joel wasn’t around when the kids were growing up, and it’s unclear what the reason was. There were some reports saying that he left the family and re-entered their lives later on, but kept in touch. No one really knows for sure what the how and why of it is. However, the non-attendance does not mean that there was any animosity on the part of the children as they were vocal in expressing their love for their father. On January 7, 2015, Joel lost his battle with cancer at the age of 58, Jussie posted a photo to his Instagram of his father wearing it when he was very young and said, ‘…my family lost our king, but we got a righteous angel; showed us the deepest strength and dignity till your very last breath.
You’re not just a fighter… You’re the CHAMPION.’ The youngest daughter, Jurnee, also posted on Instagram how she felt about her dad, saying, “Love You Dad. Keep flying high there. Until we meet again… Love you little girl.’
The Smollett Children
All six kids have been acting since they were young, and there didn’t seem to be any sibling rivalry. They were all cast in 1994 for the ABC sitcom ‘On Our Own’, with the eldest being 17 years old and the youngest just one year old at the time; it only ran for one season. They each went on to pursue acting, singing, producing and other interests. After two decades, the Smollett siblings were able to team up again in 2016, for the Food Network, on a cooking show titled “Smollett Eats.”
They shared the family’s favorite recipes as they cooked and baked for a kids’ birthday party or a midnight barbecue for friends.
Who is Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett, the middle child of Janet and Joel, was born on June 21, 1982. He starred in movies like “The Mighty Ducks” (1992) and “North” (1994) when he was younger but rose to popularity in 2015 when he was cast as Jamal Lyon on the popular Fox TV series ‘Empire’, for which he co-wrote two songs on the Season 1 original soundtrack. He signed a recording contract with Columbia Records that same year and released his debut album “Sum of My Music” through his own label. Interestingly, he came out as gay in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres shortly after his character came out on the TV series.
The staged racist and homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett
On January 29, 2019, Jussie went to the Chicago Police Department and said he was a victim of a hate crime and had been assaulted. He said that as he was walking home in the affluent Streeterville neighborhood of downtown Chicago around 2 a.m., two masked men physically assaulted him — beating him up, pouring an unknown substance on him and even putting a noose around his neck laid. They also hurled homophobic and racist insults at him, shouting, “This is MAGA country,” which refers to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
After an investigation, Chicago police said the attack may have been staged, as the masked men turned out to be Nigerian brothers, who previously worked as extras on “Empire,” and claimed Mr. Smollett was paid $3,500 to attack him . .
The brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, were born in the US, struggled financially and each went bankrupt in September 2016. Apparently, Jussie approached Abel and wanted him and his brother to help him stage the attack. They said Jussie orchestrated everything; he gave instructions on what to do and what to say, and where the attack had to take place for it to be caught on camera. After being detained and questioned by the police, they were not charged and are acting as cooperating witnesses in this case.
Police said Jussie wanted to stir up publicity because he was upset about his salary as an actor on “Empire,” which was reportedly between $65,000 and $100,000 per episode, but according to Fox, Jussie had not previously objected to his salary.
According to Abel, Jussie was also dissatisfied with his studio’s handling of the death threat he received on January 22. The letter read, “Smollett Jussie you will die black,” followed by anti-gay slurs, and it was also laced with a powder that turned out to be ground ibuprofen, which was turned over to the FBI. Police said Jussie sent this letter to herself to get attention.
Jussie Smollett’s lawyers say he is innocent, but the Chicago PD provided a detailed report on how Jussie staged the attack. In February 2019, the Cook County State Attorney’s Office charged him with 16 charges of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, but the charges against him were dropped in March and his criminal record has been cleared according to his lawyers. He forfeited his $10,000 bail and was scheduled to perform community service.
March 2, 2018…Debut album… #SumOfMyMusic pic.twitter.com/chnmPrQSYw
— Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett) February 21, 2018
The Chicago Police Department and the mayor stand firm in their case against Smollett. The police ordered Jussie to pay $130,000 to cover the cost of the manpower used in the investigation, and when he refused, they sued him for three times that amount. In October, a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate why the charges were dropped.
There was an outpouring of support from many people, including his “Empire” co-stars, celebrities Steve Harvey and Viola Davis, politicians such as Senator Kamala Harris, and fans after the initial report of the attack. People were conflicted about what to believe after the result of the police investigation was released to the public. Most of Jussie’s support and sympathy turned to disappointment and anger; the family stayed by Jussie’s side and fully support him. The producers of “Empire” reportedly said that Smollett’s character would be removed from the final two episodes of this season.
Interesting facts and rumours
- Janet is good friends with Angela Davis, an American activist and writer, who celebrates Mother’s Day with the family
- Janet is rumored to be a cousin of US Senator Kamala Harris, as her maiden name is Harris, but they are not related
- She is a great cook and her recipes have even made it into a cookbook titled ‘The Family Table: Recipes and Moments from a Nomadic Life’ by Jazz, Jussie, Jurnee and Jake.
- She is Jussie and Jurnee’s acting coach
- Janet is a fan of “Empire” and calls Jussie every Wednesday to talk about that week’s episode
- She is a fan of Whitney Houston
Jussie beautiful family his brother Jake sister Jurnee and her handsome son Hunter with their beautiful mother Janet????❤️????
Posted by Jussie Smollett fan family on Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Pictures of Janet were often posted on her kids’ IG accounts, looking quite fit and dressed as fashionably as her daughters. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She is 1.6 m tall and weighs about 51 kg. Her vital statistics have not been disclosed.
There is no information about any business she owns or her work, although there were some reports that she is a teacher. It has not been revealed how much she received from the cookbook published and released in 2018 with her recipes on it, but sources estimate her net worth at around $250,000 in early 2020.