SA gives Jussie Smollett Gqom and freedom

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett
Image: Lesley Mofokeng

Even American superstar Jussie Smollett can't help but lose himself on the dance floor listening to Distruction Boyz's Gqom banger, Omunye.

"That is my jam. We played it yesterday and everyone just got up. It was amazing," Smollett said.

The 35-year-old actor and singer, renowned for his role as openly gay musician Jamal Lyon on TV drama Empire, has been in South Africa since Saturday.

Rocking bright-hued separates from local designers at a media briefing hosted by Nandi Madida yesterday in Rosebank, Johannesburg, Smollett revealed that he would be shooting a music video for his soon-to-be-released new music.

He plans to drop his debut album in March, while the first single for the album will be released on January 5.

Smollett has been shooting a series of visuals to promote the album. The first music video, for a song titled Freedom, stars actress Tika Sumpter and was filmed in Los Angeles.

He also shot one in Miami for a song called Catch Your Eye, featuring Swizz Beatz. Now for the song, Hurt People, he will direct the video, set to film here in SA.

"It's the most epic one. From the second that I wrote the song, I said this video has to be done in South Africa because to me there is no one that I can think of that has been through so much, yet came out in a positive way like Madiba," Smollett explained.

"This whole video is inspired by him. We are using only locals; the only people from the States are my creative director, myself, dance choreographer and director of photography. We had auditions for dancers and it was literally the most amazing experience of my life."

Smollett described his time so far in South Africa as "very free".

"I feel very free here. I'm hoping to experience the people and love during my time here. Alicia Keys told me it was going to be that kind of experience."

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