Jussie Smollett’s Directorial Debut ‘B-Boy Blues’ Gets Premiere Date on BET Plus

Jussie Smollett attends Children’s Defense Fund-California 27th Annual “Beat the Odds” Awards at Regent Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, CA on December 7, 2017. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Jussie Smollett is rolling out a new project. The Empire alum’s directorial debut, B-Boy Blues, will premiere June 9 on BET+, the streamer announced Wednesday in a press release.

Smollett previously directed two episodes of Empire before leaving his role as Jamal Lyon in 2019, but this is the first film he’s directed.

The movie is an adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s best-selling novel, with the script co-written by Hardy and Smollett.

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Hardy’s 1994 book follows the love story between 27-year-old journalist Mitchell Crawford and 21-year-old bicycle messenger Raheim Rivers, while exploring a clash of class and culture between the two.

“I tip my hat to the entire B-Boy Blues film family and especially Jussie, who shared the vision, honored the novel’s cultural imprint, and was bold enough to don the producer’s cap and step into the director’s chair,” Hardy said in a statement. “Judging from the result, I placed my baby in the right hands.”

The film stars Timothy Richardson (David Makes Man), Grammy-winning singer Ledisi (Selma), Brandee Evans (P-Valley), Heather B (The Real World) Marquise Vilson (Tom Swift), Jabari Redd (Goals), Broderick Hunter (Insecure), and newcomer Thomas Mackie.

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B-Boy Blues was financed by Smollett and Cleveland-based radio broadcast investor Tom Wilson for A SuperMassive Movie. Executive producers include Hardy, Madia Hill-Scott, and Mona Scott-Young and Stephanie Gayle for Monami Entertainment. Frank Gatson also serves as executive producer alongside Sampson McCormick and Stephanie Frederic.

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” Mona Scott-Young said. “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.”

The movie has already won the Narrative Feature Fan Favorite Award at the 2021 American Black Film Festival, where it debuted. It also won the Best Feature Audience Award at the Outshine LGBTQ Film Festival.

The film’s release date is timed to coincide with Pride Month.

“Through our content slate, we are intentional about representing the fullness of the Black experience, including that of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Devin Griffin, EVP and General Manager BET+.

This is Smollett’s first major project since he was sentenced in December 2021 for falsely claiming he was the victim of a hate crime on the streets of Chicago.