lafeyette nelsan ellis

‘True Blood’ Costar Rutina Wesley Pens Beautiful Tribute To Nelsan Ellis After Passing

Over the weekend, we learnt of the tragic passing of actor and True Blood star Nelsan Ellis. At the young age of 39 years-old, it was a loss fans didn’t see coming.

Among his legacies, Ellis will be remembered for his revolutionary portrayal of the character of Lafeyette, Bon Temps’ resident chef on True Blood, a beloved fan favourite who fought against common queer representation which often recycled and resorted to stereotypes. Building a character that was about much more than sexuality, during a decade where gay men were still often defined by their coming-out stories.

Lafeyette was an out and proud, unapologetic gay man of colour, and when the show debuted on HBO back in 2008, this was still something of an anomaly on television. His mere presence on TV had an immense influence on those who watched him.

It’s not overstepping the mark to say that Lafeyette made True Blood so watchable, and as the character was increasingly pushed to the side in later seasons, the series appeal went with it. Despite what Ellis brought to the role and the glowing reception that awaited him, he stayed astoundingly humble.

After news of Ellis’ passing broke, costar Rutina Wesley – who played Tara, Lafeyette’s cousin in the supernatural series – said that the two developed a close bond over the seven seasons. She shared her feelings and words on Nelsan’s passing with Entertainment Weekly.

It’s a beautiful and fitting tribute to the actor. Here’s the entire poem in full, unedited:

“He was a lover, he loved everything which is why people didn’t understand him. That’s the beauty of it. He thought everything was beautiful. Everything.

“So poetic, charasmatic, an energy none can compare…one who touched so many forever, deep, in places they cannot reach….a spirit so divine and fine….a chameleon…transforming before you and you….transforming because of him.

“He could move your soul to whole….in a moment….an arTeest!…like nothing I’ve seen or will ever see again. A darkness wrapped up in light, tight, yearning…searching…moving seas of hearts with a smile that darts…right through you….how I loved you…fiercely vulnerable shining beacon…stand tall my friend, rest, peace has finally found you…..”

You will be missed.