Empire stars Jussie Smollett, Yaz and Serayah performed three songs from the hit show at the BET Awards on Sunday night, playing a medley of “No Apologies,” “Drip Drop” and “You’re So Beautiful.”
But better than hearing the tracks live was listening to Smollett give a moving speech in the middle of the last song. In light of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage and the recent shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, Smollett spoke about progress and freedom in America.
“We live in a nation where freedom is what we represent, yet we are still fighting every day for the basic freedoms of all of our people,” he said. “Let the Supreme Court ruling be proof of how far we have come. Let the deaths of sisters and brothers be proof of how far we have to go. No one is free until we are all free.” He ended the performance with three simple words: “Stand for love.”
Here’s a clip of the performance and Smollett’s speech: