Jorian Williams, an eighth grader at R. B. Hudson Middle School, thought Friday was going to be a normal day at school, but it was anything but that.
Williams and his classmates participated in the yearly wax museum project, where eighth graders chose someone to emulate for Black History Month and line the hall dressed as that person and deliver monologues with their biographies.
Williams chose to be actor Palmer Williams Jr., a Camden native, and even though the two share the same last name, there is no relation.
“In fifth grade I was chosen to be Palmer Williams, and I thought it would be very fun to do it [again],” Jorian said. “I’ve watched some parts of him in the plays and he’s very funny.”
Palmer is known for his role as Floyd Jackson on “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and the sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor.”
“It’s just very fun to be him,” Jorian said.
Little did he know, as he was delivering his speech, Palmer was walking through the doors of the school.
Palmer walked up to hear the end of Jorian’s speech and hugged him as soon as it was over.
Jorian never broke character during his speech.
“I thought it was really, really cool,” Palmer said. “I just wanted to hug him and say thank you for one. The fact that he was able to continue on without stopping completely, and still do it — it was very admirable of him to sustain his composure and everything.”
There was no taking the smile off of Jorian’s face after he met Palmer.
“It was pretty cool,” Jorian said. “It’s very amazing that the person I’m portraying is actually here. I never thought he would have come. I was just really, really excited.”
Palmer said it was a great feeling to know that Jorian had taken the time to research him and that he chose to portray him for his project.
“It’s overwhelming, like somebody actually thought enough of my career to actually want to emulate it,” Palmer said. “He’s relaying my history, so to speak.”
Jorian wasn’t the only one surprised though.
Amari Williams, another eighth grader participating in the project was surprised when Judge Briana Westry Robinson, who she was portraying, walked in to see her.
“She’s young, and she’s an inspiration,” Amari said of Robinson.
Robinson was elected as the District Court Judge in Wilcox County in November and was recently sworn in at 27 years old as the youngest African American female to ever serve as a judge in Alabama.
“It’s breathtaking because I can’t believe that I’m considered to be history. I just wanted to be a judge. I didn’t know I was making history,” Robinson said.
“I was honored that they even considered me. There were so many people that they could choose from so to pick me, that was great.”