Lawrence Washington aka “Miss Lawrence” made men’s heels fashionable on The Real Housewives of Atlanta as hair stylist to Sheree Whitfield, and shade-thrower to many. But his talents don’t end there. Some may recall Lawrence’s incredible pipes – a singing voice that got him noticed by friend and music producer, Kandi Burruss. Though Lawrence didn’t ultimately sign with Kandi’s production company, he did go on to parlay his powerful voice (and acting chops) into a role on Fox’s series, Star, as recurring character “Miss Bruce.”
This doesn’t mean he severed connections with the women of RHOA though. When Miss Lawrence stopped by the Jenny McCarthy Show on SiriusXM, he had plenty to say about the series that got him noticed, and the women who continue to do battle on it. Specifically, Lawrence tells Jenny why he didn’t sign with Kandi, how he thinks Kenya Moore’s marriage is legit, and why he feels like the women of RHOA have culturally appropriated the terms “shade” and “read” from the LGBTQ community.
On why Lawrence did not pursue a music career with Kandi, he says, “I didn’t want to be tied to Kandi contractually when it came to music.” Though Kandi’s success in the music industry is undeniable, Lawrence didn’t want to be tied into a contract that might force him down a path he’d be limited by. Lawrence expresses his love and respect for Kandi, even though their musical partnership didn’t pan out.
Leaving that opportunity alone ended up being a good move for Lawrence, who went on to host Fashion Queens on Bravo, appear on the hit series Empire, and now on season two as a cast member of Star. “There’s always another door or another window that you can shoot through if you feel that something’s not right,” he tells Jenny. “Have the courage to just say no.”
Lawrence joked that he told Kandi straight up, “I am not gonna be one of those starving artists who’s making no money because they signed one of those heavy a$$ contracts, honey. I said, b*tch, I like Chanel! I like Gucci, I like Vuitton…and I’ll be damned if I don’t ever get to buy it because I done signed to Kandi Koated Entertainment!”
On NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak Biermann coming back to RHOA, Lawrence thinks it’s a good thing, and hopes the audience embraces their return. He says NeNe is, after all, one of the women who “helped get [RHOA] to where it is” today. Interesting praise, considering most of the cast (minus NeNe) has reached out to Lawrence to congratulate him on his work on Star.
Which brings us to every housewife’s favorite word: Shade! What is it? Where did it come from? And why is everyone using it? “Now, honey,” explains Lawrence, “Shade comes from reading, and reading comes from shade. That’s a quote from Dorian Corey in Paris is Burning.”
“Now the whole ‘shade’ thing, I get kind of sensitive when it comes to that,” Lawrence tells Jenny. He argues that the women on reality TV who seem to be “coining” these terms have actually culturally appropriated them from the LGBTQ community, who’ve used these terms for eons “as the way we related to one another.” Although Lawrence is fine with the lighthearted use of slang whenever and wherever appropriate, he calls out some of the women for “not standing on the front lines with us” when it comes to real LGBTQ rights. “A lot of them go missing in action,” he admits.
Some women on the Real Housewives franchises also use their gay male friends as “accessories” who they can steal “intellectual property” from, argues Lawrence. And in the case of wildly popular phrases and slang, that property is valuable – especially on television. Though Lawrence feels lucky for the platform RHOA gave him, he doesn’t feel like he got trapped into being one of these Housewives accessories. “I was a hair stylist. They needed me. They came to me and asked me would I be a part of this thing.”
But after “too much inflammatory” drama surrounded him, Lawrence felt it was time to leave the show. “I knew I would never hold a goddamned peach!” he jokes. “Which means I would never get one of them checks…so I found a new space to get one of my own checks.”
Lawrence has nothing but love for the series that shined a light on his talents, though, offering support to the cast in its coming season. And he doesn’t even have any jabs for Kenya, who’s super-secret marriage looks like one of the main storylines. “I think she kept it really, really quiet and private,” says Lawrence of Kenya’s wedding, but “it’s not fake. No. I know her, I know him. He’s a very good business man here in New York City. No, he’s a real person.” Hmm. No shade there!
TELL US: DO YOU THINK THE HOUSEWIVES CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE GAY CULTURE? WAS LAWRENCE WISE TO NOT SIGN WITH KANDI?
Photo Credit: The Jenny McCarthy Show