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Pop Pedestal: Lafayette Reynolds

Lafayette Reynolds, a young black man, sits against a tree and looks at the camera. He's wearing a tank top and a headscarf

Since True Blood comes back this month, it seemed like the perfect time to dedicate a Pop Pedestal to one of Bon Temps most inspirational citizens: Lafayette Reynolds.

The Pedestal Profile: Lafayette (played by Nelsan Ellis) is the hardest working person in Bon Temps, Louisiana, simultaneously holding down jobs as a restaurant cook, a construction crew member, a sex worker, and a drug dealer (among other things). He is an out gay man who is fond of gender-bending fashion and pronoun use, and he's quicker with a comeback then just about anyone on television. He's had a hard-knock life, to put it mildly, having been bashed, kidnapped, beat up, and blackmailed—as he puts it, "Oh, don't get it twisted honeycomb. I'm a survivor first, capitalist second and a whole bunch of shit after that." Since last season he has been dating Jesus, a nurse who works with his mentally ill mother, and he and Jesus have been exploring the powers of witchcraft together (hey, it's True Blood).

Admirable qualities: Aside from his astounding work ethic (seriously, who has time to work that many jobs and sell V at the same time?) Lafayette remains true to himself no matter what. Run-ins with supernatural beings notwithstanding, he's had a rough time of it in rural Louisiana, but he never hides who he truly is or skips his trademark eyeliner-and-headscarf look in favor of a Merlotte's t-shirt. Though his methods of dealing with adversity are not exactly advisable (or legal), he always takes care of business in his own way. For example, here's a clip of Lafayette working at Merlotte's and dealing with some homophobic customers who don't like his cooking (trigger warning for violence and homophobic language):

In addition to keeping it real at all times, Lafayette is hilarious. As quick-witted as they come, he always knows what to say and how to say it—whether he's being kidnapped by vampires or giving advice in the kitchen at work.

His influence: Not surprisingly, Lafayette has inspired countless fan sites, Tumblrs, and fan art. Here's an illustration of Lafayette and Jesus from Terry Blas:

a color illustration of Lafayette and Jesus standing next to one another

There are also multiple websites dedicated to emulating Lafayette's signature style. You can even buy his hat, tank top, and necklace from the HBO fan shop. Oh, and of course there are lots of Lafayette fanvids out there:

It's not all positive, though. AfterElton named Lafayette as one of their "20 Gay Characters You Should Definitely Not Date!"

That's not all: The books True Blood is based on have *spoiler alert!* Lafayette dying in what would have been the second season. Apparently, show creator Alan Ball decided to spare Lafeyette after seeing Nelsan Ellis' performance in the pilot episode. It's a good thing, too, or we would have missed out on a lot of inspirational Lafayette awesomeness. Though season four doesn't premiere for a few more weeks, this promo has me believing that Lafayette will once again live to steal the show:

Think of him when: Remember Lafayette when it's time to be yourself in spite of the circumstances. You know he'd put on some gold pants and a turban and let it all hang out, and so can you! (Or, you know, whatever your version of gold pants and a turban happens to be.)

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Comments

4 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Lafayette rocks *everyone's* socks

Yes, yes, yes-to everything in this article! Thank you for posting. :)

Me and True Blood

I had a conversation with a friend of mine recently who told me he couldn't get into True Blood though he's given it a few tries. I convinced him to go with me on a magical journey to Lafayette-ville.

I'm not going to lie, I only watch True Blood for Lafayette and Tara.

I love love love his character

Lafayette was pivotal to my getting into True Blood.
Black, Gay, Gender-bending awesomeness. I love how hip-hop he is with the added flair.

Yes!

Lafayette is my favourite character in True Blood, (Tara is a close second, Bill's vampire daughter a third) I was so disappointed with the books after seeing the first two seasons then reading. Two totally different series in my opinion! (without posting any specific spoilers to either) Lafayette is fabulous and more than a little bit scary too, a great character to have on TV and Nelsan Ellis deserve award after award heaped on him for his work. :-) I'd love to see him play lots of other roles with depth.