The filmmakers and cast of the upcoming horror flick Bad Hair stopped by Essence Festival of Culture’s Beauty Carnival to discuss their film, ending hair discrimination and pursuing beauty without limits. But they couldn’t end the conversation without praising one of their own costars. 

Bad Hair stars Elle Lorraine, Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, plus writer and director Justin Simien, each took the time to tell a personal story of how their costar Vanessa Williams had affected them.

Cox asked for a moment to formally compliment Williams for her contributions to the culture. 

“Every time Miss Vanessa Williams has said something I’ve gotten I’ve gotten goosebumps,” she said. “We’ve met before Miss Williams, but the legendaryness that is Vanessa Williams, can we just take a moment, to acknowledge the legendary and gorgeousness that IS Vanessa Williams?” 

Everyone was more than happy to oblige. Her costars Waithe and Lorraine joined director Simien and ESSENCE Entertainment Director Cori Murray in literally bowing down to Williams’s greatness. 

“We must do it publicly, we must celebrate. You were so everything and then you’re still doing it and so amazing. I love you so much. You’ve been a huge inspiration, literally my whole life. Thank you, I thought I could do it here,” Cox continued. 

Bad Hair
Yaani King Mondschein, Elle Lorraine, and Lena Waithe appears in Bad Hair by Justin Simien, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

“And shout out to Vanessa for working with people like Justin,” said Waithe. 

“A lot of times folks don’t want to work with those young, amazing, exciting directors. And also she came and hooked us up on Twenties. So it’s like, you know, thank you for being an icon that’s also willing to look back and help raise us up and make sure we were doing the right thing. So we appreciate you very much,” the Emmy winner continued. 

“That’s the most rewarding,” replied Williams. 

Lorraine revealed how Williams’ off-screen kindness helped her fufill a lifelong dream. 

“So I’m a huge tennis fan. Vanessa is a huge tennis fan and goes to the US open every year. That’s one of my bucket list things. And she had to fly back to New York for fashion week and she calls me Friday morning on the way to work and was like, I got an extra ticket. If you want to come to the championship with Serena Williams,” she said.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 03: Vanessa Williams at the US Open on September 3, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Adrian Edwards/GC Images)

“And I was on my way to work, like I’m buying a ticket once I get there. And so I left set straight to the airport, right? Didn’t even go home to get clothes and took a red eye landed and Vanessa was my fairy godmother and took me to the US Open and my dreams came true!”  

Williams actually made Lorraine a witness to history as the game they saw happened to be the one where Serena Williams called out a referee for accusing her of cheating and embraced Naomi Osaka

“We were there,” said Williams. 

Director Simien added in his two cents. “Well I love Vanessa too and I just want to worship her as well,” he said. 

“Honestly, somebody as talented and iconic as Vanessa does not have to be cool, honestly that’s just the truth. We’re all in Hollywood, we know it. But the fact is, is that she is incredibly cool. And when I say cool, I mean, she’s authentic,” saod Simien.

He continued: “She’s aware that she’s Vanessa Williams, but she also knows she’s just one of the folks on the team, and really willing to do what everyone else was doing. [Whether it was] get on the floor in the middle of a pile of weave and hot glue and scream and do all of the stuff without pretension knowing good and well she’s Vanessa Williams.” 

We stan a true team player. 

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