Back to IndieWire

Nelsan Ellis: Watch the ‘True Blood’ Scene That Defined Lafayette As a Character

As Lafayette, Ellis made a major impact on viewers, especially given HBO's issues with diversity at the time.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by HBO/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5886290bi)Nelsan EllisTrue Blood - 2008HboUSATelevision


There’s been a flood of responses this afternoon in reaction to the news that Nelsan Ellis, known for a number of roles including that of Lafayette on “True Blood,” had passed away at the age of 39.

READ MORE: Nelsan Ellis, Breakout Star of ‘True Blood,’ Dies at 39

But none has quite the impact of Twitter user @Joshua Nasser, who clipped one key scene from the HBO vampire drama and shared it with the masses:

The scene features Lafayette confronting a trio of “rednecks” (the show’s word) over the fact that he was a gay man cooking their dinner; it does not lack for punches of the verbal or the physical kind.

And it also speaks to the sort of social commentary that “True Blood” never shrunk from, metaphorically or directly, during its seven season run. When the show premiered in 2008, HBO was a network struggling with diversity beyond “The Wire” (which ended that year).

From the very beginning of “True Blood,” Lafayette made a major impact on viewers as not just a gay black man, but a gay black man with confidence and authority. While he was never the star of the series, his commitment to the show never wavered and the writers gave him a number of storylines that pushed him beyond stereotype. As one commentator put it on Twitter:

Watch the scene above, and try to disagree. Ellis will be missed.

Stay on top of the latest film and TV news! Sign up for our film and TV email newsletter here.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox