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Nafessa Williams talks about BLACK LIGHTING on the CW

The CW has added to their superhero show roster with their newest show BLACK LIGHTNING. Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, this show explores what happens when a superhero gives up the life for his family, only to be called back into action to protect his family.

The superhero series stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, with China Anne McClain playing his youngest daughter, Jennifer, and Nafessa Williams starring as his oldest daughter, Anissa.

Photo Credit: CW

Nafessa Williams is not a stranger to television, having appeared in on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, CODE BLACK and more. Here she chats about her character, Anissa, and what makes BLACK LIGHTNING special.

Nafessa had heard of the comic prior to getting the television show, but it wasn’t until after she got the role of Anissa, who eventually becomes a superhero named Thunder, that she learned more about this world. It is the strength of the female characters that drew her interest in the show.

We have a mind of our own. We’re very, very powerful and we fight for what we believe in. [Laughing] We’re superheroes.

Thunder is the oldest daughter. I play Anissa Pierce, the oldest daughter of Jefferson Pierce, and she just wants to follow in her father’s footsteps. She fights for what she believes in. She’s very, very powerful within her body and even the strength of her mindset and her goals.

I’m just really, really excited for the little girls who are going to be able to watch this show and be empowered, especially the little black girls. We didn’t have superheroes to be able to look up to when we were younger. I’m just really, really grateful and really honored to bring a voice to who she is. I’m really excited for the fans of Black Lightning and the fans of the comic book world to be able to see this come to life.

Besides being a strong and empowering character, the emphasis of family is especially strong in this show.

Family is the basis of our show. I believe what makes Black Lightning different from other superhero shows and other superheroes is that he’s really, really family-oriented. You get to see his entire family as well as his daughters being superheroes and diving into that universe. He’s definitely a family man and wants to protect his daughters. That’s what brings him out of retirement is the love of his daughters. What’s ironic is it’s the same thing that led him into retirement is the same thing that brought him out. So, he’s definitely a family man.

It’s also the portrayal of a positive family of people of color that Nafessa feels makes the foundation of this show especially ground breaking for network television.

I think, again, the first black superhero family on network TV is very important right now. It’s very necessary, showing the positive aspect of a black father. We see a lot of black women being the head of the household and holding the house down, but I think we need to have those images because there are black fathers out there who are doing the same thing and who are the glue to the family. That’s who Black Lightning is.

BLACK LIGHTING is currently playing on the CW network; check your listings for show time.

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