The Meaning of Jussie Smollett's Name
21 Feb 2019

Headlines have recently been dominated by reports that American actor Jussie Smollett was attacked and verbally abused by supporters of US President Donald Trump.

Smollett reported to police that he was attacked by Donald Trump supporters, who ridiculed his ethnicity and sexual orientation, doused him in bleach and hung a noose round his neck.

After much speculation and circumstantial evidence, the police superintendent of Chicago, Eddie Johnson, today announced Smollett is charged with faking the attack; having paid at least $3,500 to two brothers to carry out the attack.

The meaning of Jussie Smollett's name is: righteous one1, descendant of the tar-man2.

Jussie is a nickname, derived from Justin, from the Latin, justus, meaning 'righteous', 'fair' or 'honest'. While his surname is a Slavic-Jewish surname, originally Smolovich. It is derived from the Slavic, smola, meaning 'tar'. It was a common occupation in Europe to collect various types of resin or tar for use in adhesives and other products. It is possible Smollett's paternal ancestors practiced this trade. Or they may have hailed form one of the many places in Slavic-speaking countries whose names are derived from smola, such as Smolec in Poland and Smolensk in Russia.

Superintendent Eddie Johnson, has stated Smollett staged the attack as he was unsatisfied with his salary, which Yashar Ali, of The Huffington Post, has reported as being upwards of $1,170,000 in 2018; around twenty-six times the average salary in The United States. The Daily Mail has reported his salary at $1.8 million, or forty times the annual average slary.

The superintendent further stated that Smollett had fabricated a similar incidence when he mailed an abusive letter to himself, including a white powder.

  1. A. Livingstone, ‎M. W. D. Sparks, ‎R. W. Peacocke. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2013). pg 310