Ava DuVernay, Tyler Perry, Viola Davis, Lee Daniels and many more industry luminaries today paid tribute to Charles Gregory Ross after the Emmy-nominated hairstylist lost his battle with coronavirus yesterday.
“God bless you and keep you in His Kingdom forever,” DuVernay said of Ross, who she most recently worked with on her HBO Max DMZ pilot earlier this year. “You lit up every room you entered and every path you crossed. Thank you for your warmth and your wisdom and your wonderful spirit. Please watch over us and keep loving us. We will keep loving you and will never forget you. Your memory will be our blessing.”
As America and most of the world are in lockdown against the global pandemic, Ross died on Wednesday in Atlanta just over two weeks from first testing positive for COVID-19 – a fact he shared online.
Ross was a renowned hairstylist, working on an impressive list of films including Remember the Titans (2000) and Drumline (2002). He also worked on the Outkast musical drama Idlewild (2006) as well as the TV movie Lackawanna Blues (2005), for which he received an Emmy nomination. Other credits include the TV series Red Band Society and Survivor’s Remorse as well as features All Eyez on Me and Janicza Bravo’s Zola, which debuted at Sundance earlier this year. His work can also be seen in Lee Daniels’ forthcoming film The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
Daniels remembered Ross yesterday on his Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
I was fortunate to finally work with @charlesgregorytherenowned. He was a BRILLIANT hairstylist and did his MAGIC on @usvsbillieholiday ..Whenever l complained about anyone’s hair he’d say “lemme just slap some grease on it.. it’ll be ok”! 😂.. and it was!!! .. the virus took him today. Please say a prayer for this wonderful man and his family. 💔💔💔
Among his many credits, Ross worked extensively with Tyler Perry on many of his films and TV series including House of Pain, Madea Goes to Jail, Meet the Browns and was part of the Academy Award-winning team for the Adam McKay helmed Vice, where he served as Perry’s personal hairstylist.
With the increasing news of the black community being disproportionately impacted by coronavirus, Perry took to Instagram to honor Ross:
View this post on Instagram
Dear Black People, Today it’s with a heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of one of our crew members. Mr. Charles Gregory was a hairstylist that had worked with us for many years. The man was warm, loving and hilarious. We all loved to see him coming and hear his laughter. Charles lost his battle with COVID-19 today. It saddens me to think of him dying this way. My sincerest prayers are with his family. While everyone can contract this virus it is black people who are dying from it in much larger numbers. This thing is real, black people. I heard a black person say, “Black people don’t get it.” That is a lie! You can get it, and you will get it if we don’t do what we're being told to do. A 26 year old black woman died the other day, a 44 year old black man died the other day, not to mention the hundreds of people that are dying every few minutes. Your age does not matter!! Your health does not matter. You could be totally healthy, and you could die! Now listen to me. You have been right by my side since I started in this business, so please hear me with your heart. I LOVE US. I love our humor. I love our culture. I love our hair. I love our skin. I love everything about who we are. All of us. And I love us all too much to watch us die on the vine because we are the last to know and we are not taking this pandemic seriously. Black people, we are at a disproportionately higher risk of dying from this virus. Please, please, please, I beg you to take this seriously. You have to socially distance yourself. That means stop hanging out, stop congregating, stop doing anything that will put not only your life in danger but also the lives of so many others. STAY HOME!! Socially distance yourself and stay alive! If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for someone you love, and for those who love you. My Mother always told me to not wait for help! Be your own help!
Oscar winner Viola Davis paid a very personal tribute to Ross on April 8 also:
Taraji P Henson, Kerry Washington, Octavia Spencer, Angela Rye, Tina Lawson, Rosario Dawson, Tyrese Gibson, Tichina Arnold and many others also commented on social media to honor Ross, as you can see in the posts above.
R.I.P. Mr. Ross.