Black Is…True Blood

Vampires, telepaths, shapeshifters, werewolves….ingredients for a storyline that doesn’t include Black folk, right? Wrong. Dead wrong, in fact.

HBO’s True Blood is a hit series about a world where all of these creatures coexist with humankind. The show is addictive with a great storyline and a strong cast, and two of its members are folks I want to see more of in the future. Gay and fabulous Lafayette Reynolds (played by Nelsan Ellis) and drama-queen Tara Thornton (played by Rutina Wesley) are some of my favorite characters from this show because most often, one doesn’t get the Black perspective on a show like this. In fact, the show would still be solid and have a large following without any Black actors in the cast – but I’m glad series creator Alan Ball brought these two to the limelight. In the novels, the character of Lafayette is killed off early in the series, and the character of Tara is white. Thankfully, Ball had the foresight to keep Lafayette and change Tara. Regarding those changes to the storyline, Ball stated, “You can’t have a small Southern town like Bon Temps without black people”.

A little about the actors behind the characters: Both Nelsan and Rutina are graduates of ┬áThe Juilliard School. This is Rutina’s first major role and she was cast because she was able to showcase Tara’s vulnerability. This is also Nelsan’s first major role as well, and both have been nominated for several awards for their performances.

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