Gold standard

Allison Williams deserves a gold star for being the only white actress in mainstream Hollywood to have participated in on-screen romance with a black woman as well as a black man. She kissed Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out (2017) before taking things to the next level with Logan Browning in The Perfection. Each film began filming on a February. 2016 for Get Out whereas The Perfection began filming on Valentine’s day of this year. It’s fitting because this film was a passion project for her because, despite not getting a producer’s credit, she had a hand in the script revising, the casting approval, editorial decisions, and ironing other kinks. Back in October 2017, various sites quoted Allison as saying: “Ever since Get Out, I’ve been looking for a feature that had a similar magical alchemy to it — a writer-director I love, a subject matter that feels urgent and relevant, a character who fascinates me, and a script that feels almost too ambitious to pull off.”

Way before Get Out, Allison was perfectly fine with taking photos alongside black people. Here she is with NBA player Dwyane Wade attended Prada Fashion’s Night Out at Prada 5th Avenue on September 8, 2011 in New York City. Yes, that’s Dwyane instead of Dwayne. This was before she co-starred in Lena Dunham’s TV series, Girl. The irony is that only Lena’s character got to have an on-screen romance with a black guy. Back in June 2017, Allison was interviewed at the Newseum in Washington where she was asked to recommend shows for people who miss Girls (which finished airing in April). She recommended two black-driven shows – Insecure and Atlanta. She referred to the latter as one of the best shows ever made. The city has significance for her after she went on a ninth grade school trip from Atlanta to Memphis. The trip involved stopping at major civil rights landmarks. From that point onwards, she never took her white privilege for granted. Before Girls began airing on April 15 in 2012 (two days after her 24th birthday), Allison had her photo taken with Gabourey Sidibe at the after party for the New York premiere of the HBO show on April 4, 2012. 

Despite HBO’s reputation for naked raunchiness, Allison Williams never fully revealed herself. Not only is this ironic when compared to the star of the show, but it’s also ironic since Allison’s character (Marnie) had more sex than the other stars. An even bigger irony is that she only agreed to go proper nude, i.e. breasts and buttocks, for the lesbian sex in The Perfection. It’s like she was sparing her bare virginity for an interracial encounter. Even before the film went into production, there was already speculation that it was going to be raunchy. Back in December, someone in the comment section of this Deadline article had leaked that it was going to be Whiplash (2014) meets Black Swan (2010). Way before then, there was an indication that The Perfection was going to be strongly sapphic. In late 2016, the director of The Perfection (Richard Shepard) had tweeted several times about his interest in a Korean film called The Handmaiden (released in May 2016). Back to Girls, Allison made it firmly clear that she was not going to sign a nudity waiver.

On October 15, 2013, Allison and Michael Strahan attended the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 12th Annual “An Enduring Vision Benefit” at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. I wonder what Michael thought of Girls, especially since the surname of Allison’s character is Michaels. He is definitely an advocate for interracial romance given how he was married to a white woman for over half a decade i.e. Jean Muggli. I’m sure that, if he had seen the show, Michael must thought that it was ironic that the most attractive star was the one who bared herself the least. In fact, her beauty is probably why the network execs and her agents tolerated her frigidity; which they should have done since Allison had the commercial value of playing Kate Middleton in a TV mini-series. One thing that put Allison in good stead was that she didn’t want her future children to be made fun of if she showed her birthday suit…which makes you wonder what went through her mind during The Perfection.

In the above photo, Allison was introducing Kakenya Ntaiya – the Maasai educator who opened a school for girls in Kenya. The context was that Allison was presenting an award to her at an event called CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute, which was held at The American Museum of Natural History on November 19, 2013 in New York. Michael Strahan’s white co-host, Kelly Ripa, was in attendance. When Allison Williams was in college, she spent a summer living in Ghana working on the HIV/AIDS crisis with an NGO. She immersed herself in the culture without appropriating aspects of it such as braiding her hair. Four months after the release of Get Out in February 2017, she was quoted by Washington Life Magazine as saying that she has spent her whole life reading and learning about the history of U.S. racism. In late May, a black woman commented on her Facebook page by saying: “I just want to say thank you for all of the support you give to others and also thank you for visiting the guys at Angola Louisiana prison.”

This Facebook photo was dated 24 November, 2014. The caption that Alicia Quarles wrote for it was that the Peter Pan musical was 10 days away. Allison played the titular character. Her favourite newsletter to follow is from the Marshall Project, a non-profit covering the U.S. criminal justice system. Criminal justice reform, in addition to her work with Horizons as a National Ambassador on education (hence the below photo), is a cause she cares about deeply and has been exploring further since the filming of Girls ended in 2017. In the August 2016 issue of the InStyle magazine, she said: “I always say I’m an education enthusiast. I feel really lucky about the opportunities I got. Filling my brain has always been my No. 1 priority. The lack of school engagement for low-income students during summer vacation can be detrimental to their education. Kids whose families can’t afford enriching summer experiences or camp programs tend to lose ground over the summers, although the curriculum assumes they’ll continue to grow.

Allison Williams had it easy because her mother chairs the national board, but Allison went to school with Horizons students at New Canaan Country School in Connecticut; she saw first-hand how transformative that the program was for her classmates. Allison told Cheryl Brody Franklin for InStyle: “Over the course of five years, those summer breaks can cause children to fall behind two years. But Horizons erases that learning loss and puts students about two months ahead in reading and math when they get back to school in the fall. One of the craziest inequities I can imagine is the circumstances you’re born into determining what you can make of your academics. Water is something many students are afraid of. We had one girl who got a job as a junior lifeguard when she was 15, which meant she had an income. Another alum got a full swim scholarship to college. Once kids realize they can conquer the deep end of a pool, they gain confidence in other areas.”

On Wednesday, April 7, 2016, Allison presented the Inspiration Award to fellow actress/activist Sarah Jones at the DVF Awards. Allison was so star-struck that she lost track of what she was supposed to be doing. She inexplicably forgot to hand Jones the statuette and starting leaving the stage. But at the last minute, Williams realized what was wrong and apologized. By the way, DVF stands for Diane von Furstenberg, who Allison and Sarah had met in 2009 by chance during President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Allison complimented Diane by saying that she “…speaks her mind — she’s intelligent, insightful, a great businesswoman…and honest about what she’s gone through.”

The woman on the left is Allison’s mother – Jane Stoddard Williams. On April 26 in 2016, Horizons National Board Chairwoman Jane and Horizons Ambassador Allison Williams joined First Lady Michelle Obama for College Signing Day at N.Y. City’s Harlem Armory. More than 4,000 students from across N.Y. high schools were in attendance. College Signing Day was part of the First Lady’s “Reach Higher” initiative to inspire young people to pursue their education past high school. In addition to the N.Y. event, more than 1,000 College Signing Day events were held in nearly every state by communities and organizations committed to helping students pursue higher education. Reach Higher was designed to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Allison Williams went backstage to be photographed alongside Kyle Scatliffe and other thespians who participated in a Broadway adaptation of The Color Purple. This was a period black-themed novel that Steven Spielberg had adapted in the mid-eighties with Oprah Winfrey as one of the main actresses. Since Girls was filmed in New York, it was easier for Allison to swing by than if Girls had been an L.A. show. The play, produced by Oprah, had won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The photos were taken at The Jacobs Theatre but since the production was so local, you have to wonder why one or more stars of Girls hadn’t swung by. Then again, Oprah wasn’t present either. This is quite ironic because three years earlier, on December 11, Allison attended The Hollywood Reporter’s 22nd annual Women In Entertainment Breakfast Honoring Oprah Winfrey at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California.

This photo in of itself foreshadowed the potentially homosexual photo seen in Get Out. It’s awfully affectionate and I wonder if it was a precedent to her desire to experiment with a black actress on The Perfection. The black actress in the above photo is Kuoth Wiel. Also present is Connie Britton since they all acted in David O. Russell’s short film, Past Forward. The event that they’re attending is supposed to be the premiere but it wasn’t the first time that it was screened to people who didn’t work on the film. On September 22 in 2016, a screening was held at the Fondazione Prada in Milan. The film was a collaboration between David and Miuccia Prada. A selected portion of the film debuted on multiple screens during Prada’s Spring Summer 2017 in Milan. As for the official premiere, it was held on November 15, 2016 at Hauser Wirth Schimmel Gallery in Los Angeles. The full film was available on the Prada site.

On February 4, 2017, Allison Williams joined Corey Hawkins and Deion Sanders to present the AP Coach of the Year Award during the 6th Annual NFL Honors at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas. The recipient of the award was Jason Garrett, who coached the Dallas Cowboys. On February 17, a Los Angeles Times article written by Amy Kaufman explained that Allison dyed her hair blond because a fashion magazine (which turned out to be Allure) had her posed on the cover in a platinum wig (for an article that was published on the Allure site on February 8) but when the issue hit newsstands, the editors wanted her to actually get a dye job. The timing was perfect because, as alluring Allison said, it: “was to help jump-start my thinking of myself in one way for so long and kind of reset those associations.”

Personally, I think that the hair signifies her emerging from the cocooned world of Girls into the immersion of dizzying heights that results in herself being a representative of a gold standard. In this photo, she is pictured with Steven Wilson at Idaho’s Sun Valley film festival on March 17. By this point, Allison had a reputation for being far from the prim lady that she played in Girls. As each season wrapped, she wrote thank you notes to every member of the crew and delivered custom gifts like cake in a jar and embroidered tote bags. While this may seem like the actions of a sycophant, Allison’s heart was in the right place because she had the experience of working as an assistant on Meryl Streep’s A Prairie Home Companion (2006) and Tina Fey’s Baby Mama (2008). She truly has a heart of gold. Despite her middle-class upbringing, Allison was humble enough to hire an acting coach so that could avoid falling into set patterns for her role as Rose in Get Out.

The problematic nature of Rose could have proven difficult for her personal life, but it was offset by herself joining Lola Ogunnaike to attend Universal Pictures event – a Peggy Siegel Luncheon at the Lincoln Ristorante in NYC. This was on November 15, 2017. Despite the insidious nature of Rose, Allison Williams escaped being hated by black people because she had already worn them over in late April 2015 (a month after the end of Season 4). What happened was that she took to Instagram to share a lip-synching video in which she mimes Nicki Minaj’s rap from Kanye West’s song, Monster. It helps her case that Allison is a genuinely huge fan of Kanye. Another example of her being a devotee to black music is January 22, 2018. It was a SAG Awards after party where numerous stars treated the couch area like a dance floor after the previous day’s ceremony. Several news outlets noted that Allison started grooving to The Weeknd’s I Feel It.

Earlier on the evening of January 9, the above photo was taken where Lupita Nyong’o presented the winners of the Best Ensemble Award. This was for Get Out hence Betty Gabriel, Allison and Lil Rel Howery. Unlike the SAG Awards, the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala was held in NYC. As for the aforementioned Screen Actors Guide ceremony, the below photo has Allison photographed alongside Danielle Brooks. However, when I look at the above photo, I can’t help but think that Allison may have wanted Lupita Nyong’o to be her co-star in The Perfection. She is more famous than Logan Browning, and the film would have at least received a limited release in major cities instead of being a straight-to-Netflix deal. It could have been a contender in terms of awards bait instead of being perceived as a commercial exploitation movie like a lot of horror movies usually are.

As for the final photo, this was taken at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 2 in Santa Monica, California. Allison Williams is seated with singer Janelle Monáe, who essentially identified as pansexual when she was interviewed for the Evening Standard in 2011. In late April of 2018, Janelle made it more clear to Brittany Spanos as to where she stood with her sexual orientation when being interviewed for the Rolling Stone magazine. As Janelle boldly and bluntly put it: “Being a queer black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf#cker.”

walking around an art space on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where she drew his attention to a pink portrait of Marilyn Monroe. The picture was part of an affecting group show by incarcerated LGBTQ artists. In some cases, the work was created in secret, against prison regulations. The show for the Abrons Art Center was titled On the Inside. It was conceived by Tatiana von Furstenberg, daughter of Allison’s friend – the aforementioned Diane. Allison said: I missed the opening because of work, but I’ve been so excited to come see it. There’s a lot of overlap with the work I do around education, incarceration, and HIV/AIDS with RED in Africa.”

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