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Chris Rock slams Jussie Smollett during NAACP Awards show

Chris Rock onstage at the 50th NAACP Image Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 30, 2019 in Hollywood, California. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Despite support from Anthony Anderson, Jussie Smollett was a no-show at Saturday night’s NAACP Image Awards in Hollywood.

The “Empire” actor was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, but lost out to “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams. Williams won the award during the untelevised portion of the show at the awards dinner Friday, which USA TODAY confirmed Smollett also did not attend.

But that didn’t stop Chris Rock from taking aim.


On ‘SNL,’ Jussie Smollett claims second attack but grabs ‘a bag of clues’

“They said ‘No Jussie Smollett jokes,'” said Rock, who was there to present Outstanding Comedy Series. But that didn’t stop him. “What a waste of light skin,” Rock cracked. “Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here! I’d be running Hollywood.”

“What the hell was he thinking? You’re ‘Jessie’ from now on,” Rock continued, as cameras showed Trevor Noah cracking up in the crowd. “You don’t get the ‘u’ no more. That ‘u’ was respect. You ain’t getting no respect from me!”

Smollett flew from Chicago to Los Angeles on Wednesday, ABC News reported, fueling speculation he would attend the Image Awards, which honor entertainers and writers of color.

Organizers told USA TODAY that, to their knowledge, Smollett was not present Saturday. A rep for Smollett did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY