Malinda Williams watches her fiancé, celebrity photographer and former rapper Derrick ‘D-Nice’ Jones, greet actress and friend Dawnn Lewis. “It’s a blast and a blessing to get together with my sisterfriends,” says Lewis, who met Williams on a TV pilot shoot and has known the groom-to-be since they co-starred in the 1988 comedy I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. “I’m so excited about what’s happening here today.”
It’s a family affair with Malinda, her mom, Beverly and sisters Lisa Sorensen and Leslie Dunn. Malinda hails from a legacy of longstanding marriages—her parents have been married for 46 years and her grandparents have been together for 72 years.
“My wish for Malinda is that she enjoy life and be happy,” says older and wiser sister Leslie Dunn, a computer programmer.
“My blessing is that Malinda and Derrick will always celebrate one another," says sis Lisa Sorensen, who hosted the wedding shower in her backyard, “and that they live, love and laugh a lot in their marriage."
Having co-starred on the hit Showtime series Soul Food, Malinda and Vanessa Williams continue to share a sisterly bond.
“It never ended in terms of that love and family that we created,” Vanessa said of her relationship with her Soul Food co-stars. “Nicole Ari [Parker] and I are bridesmaids in Malinda’s upcoming wedding.”
Actress Tasha Smith, who banked screen time with Malinda in Tyler Perry’s 2007 release, Daddy’s Little Girls, shares her well wishes with the bride-to-be.
“I hope that all of her marital dreams will be granted to her,” says Smith. “She is such an inspiration.”
Longtime friend A.J. Johnson made a mad dash from the airport to join in the fun.
Malinda sips on champagne as fellow actresses Richardson and Smith are pampered by G. Garvin’s butlers.
Malinda and Garvin toast her family and friends.
“I feel as though we’re all celebrating together,” says Malinda. “Not just me or a place that I’ve reached, but a place we’ve all collectively worked at helping me to.”
Surrounded by her mom and sisters, Malinda feels the love. “My sisters told me how proud they were of my choices.”
Garvin is surrounded by 18 of Black Hollywood’s finest.
Always ready for her close-up, Malinda strikes a pose with a guest, Lewis and Johnson.
Malinda enjoys the yellow bell pepper soup.
Vaughn zooms in for a family portrait of Malinda and her family.
Vanessa Williams salutes the bride-to-be, bringing her to tears. “Vanessa told me I exemplified motherhood,” says Malinda.
A circle of sisters forms around Malinda in a special moment between the friends. “A.J. Johnson reminded me of the very moment I set my foot on the path to happiness,” said Malinda. "But what made me cry about everyone’s statements is that I wondered if they knew that I could only show them what they had first shown me.”
The ladies bring out the tissue as Malinda and her mom become misty-eyed during a special toast. “My mother said I was always fearless,” said Malinda.