Jussie Smollett speaks out for the first time since attack: 'Let me start by saying that I’m OK'

Three days after a brutal attack left him hospitalized, "Empire" star Jussie Smollett is ready to speak out about what happened on Tuesday morning in Chicago.

In a statement given to ESSENCE, Smollett addressed the "beautiful people" who have shown support for the actor after two men allegedly shouted racist and homophobic slurs as they assaulted Smollett with a rope and chemicals.

“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett began. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."

“I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served."

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Jussie Smollett out and about
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Jussie Smollett out and about
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 06: Jussie Smollett speaks at the Children's Defense Fund California's 28th Annual Beat The Odds Awards at Skirball Cultural Center on December 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JANUARY 21: Jussie Smollett is seen at NATPE Miami 2019 - Tyler Perry Keynote 'Living the Dream: A Career in Content' at the Fontainebleau Hotel on January 21, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett performs onstage during amfAR Dance2Cure at Bardot on December 1, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 02: Jussie Smollett attends The Trevor Project's 2018 TrevorLIVE Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 02, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett attends the Black AIDS Institute's 2018 Heroes in The Struggle Gala at California African American Museum on December 01, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Jussie Smollett attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: 'Empire' at The Robin Williams Center on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Actor Jussie Smollett is seen in Midtown on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Actor and activist Jussie Smollett visits Build Series to discuss the TV show 'Empire' and his work for charitable causes at Build Studio on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett performs onstage at Espolòn Celebrates Day of the Dead at Academy Nightclub on November 1, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images for Espolòn)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Jussie Smollett attends a meet & greet at Bloomingdale's on October 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Jussie Smollett speaks during the 'Empire' season 5 world premiere during the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival at Spring Studios on September 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Jussie Smollett attends the Entertainment Weekly Pre-Emmy Party 2018 at Sunset Tower Hotel on September 15, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 30: Actor Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Woodruff Arts Center on August 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BMI)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 02: Fergie (L) and Jussie Smollett attend the FOX Summer TCA 2018 All-Star Party at Soho House on August 2, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 07: Actor/singer Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 Essence Festival - Night 2 at Louisiana Superdome on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 22: Jussie Smollet performs during Acoustically Speaking, sponsored by M&Ms, during the 2018 BET Experience at Los Angeles Convention Center on June 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET)
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Calling the assault a "cowardly attack," Smollett broadened his statement to condemn widespread violence against the LGBTQ+ community.

"I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident," he said. "We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me."

Chicago police have released photos of two persons of interest. The images come from a surveillance camera in the area.

At the time of the attack, Smollett was on the phone with his manager, Brandon Z. Moore, who told police he heard the attackers yell "MAGA country," a reference to President Trump's campaign slogan. 

Police have said they're treating the case as a possible hate crime.

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Celebrities react to violent attack on Jussie Smollett
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Celebrities react to violent attack on Jussie Smollett
Sending love to Jussie and the Smollett family after this horrific attack. We support you and pray that you find peace and justice.
DEAR GOD! Prayers and justice for Jussie Smollett.
This is heartbreaking and terrifying...please pay attention to what’s happening here. Sending all my love to… https://t.co/xAKE4hVjn9
This is so awful. Sending love to @JussieSmollett. 🙌🌈 https://t.co/U3wKFBAXi2
Sending my love and prayers to you @JussieSmollett . This is unacceptable and they will be brought to justice.
I'm just now hearing the news about the senseless hate attack on my #EMPiRE Nephew @JussieSmollett IM SO ANGRY AND… https://t.co/wHE8vGKZDP
This is horrific. What kind of country do we live in. https://t.co/unvzWmo6XD
I saw Jussie Smollett in Miami last week. I can’t believe this happened. It is sad and disgusting and and deplorabl… https://t.co/gC824cErsM
The reported hate attack on my friend and brother, actor Jussie Smollett is despicable and outrageous. The guilty must face the maximum.
I’m pissed. Love you @JussieSmollett and your family. https://t.co/DYohyjP0AW
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