He began his career as a child actor in 1991, acting in films such as The Mighty Ducks (1992) and Rob Reiner's North (1994).
In 2015, Smollett portrayed musician Jamal Lyon in the Fox drama series Empire, a role that was hailed as groundbreaking for its positive depiction of a black gay man on television.
Smollett has also appeared in Ridley Scott's science fiction film Alien: Covenant (2017) as Ricks and in Marshall (2017) as Langston Hughes.
Jussie Smollett was born in Santa Rosa, California, the son of Joel and Janet (née Harris) Smollett.
He has three brothers and two sisters: Jake, Jocqui, Jojo, Jurnee, and Jazz, several of whom are also actors.