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Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who was later disgraced after being convicted of making false reports about what he alleged to be a hate crime in 2019, has directed a new film.  

Smollett’s first project since his fall from grace, a full-length feature film called B-Boy Blues was directed and financed, in part, by the actor. The film is an adaptation of the 1994 novel by James Earl Hardy about the lives of Black gay men in New York City. 

It’s been described as “a clash of class and culture when Mitchell Crawford, a college educated journalist from Brooklyn and Raheim Rivers, a bike messenger from Harlem, fall in love.”

The film has previously been seen by fans at the 2021 American Black Film Festival where it won the Narrative Feature Fan Favorite Award. 

According to Variety, the film stars Timothy Richardson (“David Makes Man”), singer Ledisi who also appeared in “Selma”, Brandee Evans (“P-Valley”), Heather B (“The Real World”), Marquise Vilson (“Tom Swift”), Jabari Redd (“Goals”), Broderick Hunter (“Insecure”) and Thomas Mackie. 

BET+ executive VP/GM Devin Griffin called the film adaptation “an artful, heart-rending film about the complexity of love—something we can all relate to.” Griffin added, “Through our content slate, we are intentional about representing the fullness of the Black experience, including that of the LGBTQ+ community.” 

Smollett also co-wrote the script with Hardy and was one of the financial backers. Other producers include Mona Scott-Young and Stephanie Gayle for Monami Entertainment. The film had previously been seen by fans at the 2021 American Black Film Festival where it won the Narrative Feature Fan Favorite Award. 

“B-Boy Blues is a beautifully bold, funny, heartwarming bro-mance and I was thrilled to partner with Jussie to help this wonderful film gain greater exposure,” Young told Variety. “Falling head over heels and fighting for love are universal emotions and experiences and we are so grateful to BET+ for shining a powerful spotlight on the still seriously underrepresented black LGBTQ+ community and bringing this impactful love story to an even greater audience.”

TMZ is reporting that Scott-Young played a significant role in getting the movie onto BET+ and out to audiences for Jussie — who directed and produced the project. She reportedly stayed attached to the project despite Smollett’s legal issues. The film will debut on June 9 on the streaming channel.

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