Although it is hard to understand why Lafayette is such a big deal for men watching True Blood, I will say that you will be hard-pressed to find many men of his quality in the show.
What’s so great about Lafayette
Let’s start by addressing the giant purple elephant in the room, the character of Lafayette is that of a gay chef/hustler who is played by a straight man Nelsan Ellis. Nelsan is arguably one of the best actors on True Blood and possesses a charisma that bypasses any gay/straight paradigms that would probably have doomed his character otherwise. When you first meet Lafayette he will throw you off – I know he threw me off – because his character is nothing like you would expect from glancing at a photo or seeing a clip. Lafayette is one part gangster, and another part ride-or-die best friend.
Lafayette Reynolds represents a lot of the best qualities in not only men but in human beings in general. He is fiercely loyal, trustworthy, caring, and he can throw hands when you have it coming (prior to the trauma that changed him in season 2). He’s very unique from the outset and you can pick up on it in his strange sense of fashion which blends traditional female clothing with men’s. I think that after watching 3 seasons of True Blood even a homophobe would begin to like Lafayette.
I find it interesting that many of the quotes that we (me and my friends) remember from True Blood are ones that were uttered from Lafayette’s mouth. He says the funniest things at the right time and he manages to find himself in the middle of the craziest drama that involves Supernaturals. Unlike his cousin Tara (Rutina Wesley), whose mommy and daddy issues control her life in the most negative and typical ways, Lafayette is a rock despite his mother’s bad condition and venomous words.
Some of our favorite quotes:
- “Wrong place at the wrong fuckin’ time oughta be my middle fuckin’ name “
- “Oh, bitch can burn” (when someone was impressed with his cooking skills)
- “Go tell your mama that two faggots whooped your ass!”
- “Well hey there sugar boo boo. Now what is you doing here at yo place of work? Cause I know it ain’t work.” (Sookie never shows up to work)
- “Hooker! I ain’t in the helpin’ business no more. I’m in the fuck off while I smoke a blunt business and business is about to pick way the fuck up.”
Changes in Character (Spoilers)
For fans of True Blood there are two versions of Lafayette that have to be considered since the character was dramatically changed after a vampire imprisons him for a time and made him afraid of his own shadow. The pre-slave Lafayette was a hustler to the bone, hardcore drug dealer, and a dangerous man to cross in terms of business. The post-slave Lafayette became extremely weak and different – I wasn’t a fan of this – and it took him getting into a relationship in order to bring his life back from the shambles that it had fallen into.
Pre-slave Lafayette was a playboy who didn’t do relationships outside of lovers that helped to further his illegal business. Post-slave Lafayette found himself becoming Supernatural and acquiring the ability to not only channel and contact the dead, but to also serve as a conduit for them to interact with the living world. Post-slave Lafayette began to dress in a more feminine way, lost a lot of the hard edge that made him dangerous and like his cousin Tara, placed on the True Blood shelf of “we’ll use you when we need you”.
The Reel Man of Cinema that we honor today is that of the pre-slave Lafayette, who was very much a man – that happened to be gay – and a complicated one at that.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.