Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-06-26
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

TV. Nafessa Williams breaks barriers as Black lesbian superhero
by Gary L. Day
2019-02-27

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When Nafessa Williams' agent set her up to audition for the new CW network show Black Lightning, she had no idea who Black Lightning was, or even that it was going to be s superhero show—much less that she was auditioning to play a lesbian.

In fact, when the CW first announced that it was adding Black Lightning to its roster, reaction was, at best, muted. Black Lightning was an obscure character created in the 1970s who has had an at-best modest career in the comics since then. Besides, Black Lightning seemed like just another superhero show amongst a plethora of similar series crowding the schedules of many networks.

Williams was cast as Anissa Pierce ( aka Thunder ), the elder of two superpowered daughters of Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning. Once cast, she started doing her homework about the characters' history, Williams caught fire. "I got excited," she said. "This was something different and special. Here was this Black superhero whose focus was on his neighborhood, his community—and his family. I knew what it would mean to the community to see a portrayal of a strong Black man who was present for his family, who was supportive and protective and loving."

Upon its premiere, Black Lightning proved to be a surprise hit, certainly by CW standards. In addition to performing well in the ratings, the show has garnered substantially positive critical praise. This came as no surprise to Williams, who said, "I saw the scripts, which were incredible. I knew who was involved running the show. I could tell that the quality would be on point."

The show, now in the midst of its second season, has chronicled the evolution of Anissa Pierce, from her discovery of her powers, through her development as the costumed superhero code-named Thunder, who sometimes works with her father, but who also sometimes goes off and works independently—much to her protective father's chagrin.

The show also casually, yet forthrightly, chronicles Anissa's private life as an out and proud gay woman with an active romantic life. "I'm so excited to be playing a lesbian," she said. "It's an opportunity to help normalize being a lesbian in people's eyes."

Williams said she takes her position as a symbol for the community very seriously, stating, "I consider it my responsibility to tell the story of where Anissa is coming from, as a woman of color, as a lesbian, from as authentic a place as I can. I know the showrunners feel the same."

The show's emphasis on protecting one's community is an important factor that sets Black Lightning apart from most other TV superhero shows: "It's important for people to be reminded that community is something worth fighting for."

Black Lightning has wrapped filming on the current season, and Williams right now is on location filming a movie in New Orleans. She is immensely enjoying her time in the once-ravaged city. "New Orleans is an incredibly cool city. The city's allure, the food—it's terrific. I know certain sections of the city are still recovering from Katrina, even after all this time. But the way the city as a whole has bounced back is inspiring."

Williams' burgeoning career in television, and now in movies, has left her with precious little time to devote to charitable efforts she had once been involved with. She was once involved with some friends in a YouTube channel called "VIP Happy Hour," which was meant to inspire women to take control of their lives and forge their own destinies. Sadly, she no longer has the time to be involved.

Williams does maintain a connection with the the Beatrice Foundation, a charity that feeds the homeless on Los Angeles' Skid Row. She said, "I love the Beatrice Foundation. The work they do is so important, so gratifying. I just wish I had more time to give to them."

For the future, Williams is looking forward to what's in store, both romantically and heroically, for Anissa/Thunder. In the past, there have been regular crossovers with the heroes of the various CW superhero shows, which includes Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and DC's Legends. So far, Black Lightning has not been involved with these crossovers.

But Williams said she has hopes. "I'd love to go off on an adventure with the other girl heroes, like Supergirl and Black Canary," she said. "The future is female!"

Black Lightning airs Mondays on the CW at 8 p.m. CT.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Lori Lightfoot discusses first month on the job 2019-06-26 - After about a month on the job, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is settling into her new job on City Hall's fifth floor. Never ...


Gay News

Softball player reflects on sexuality in sports, teamwork 2019-06-26 - From morning to night, Chicago Bandits pitcher Aleshia Ocasio commits herself to two things: softball and benevolence. During the season for the ...


Gay News

Chicago Dyke March in Little Village on June 29 2019-06-26 - The Chicago Dyke March Collective will present the 23rd Annual Dyke March in the city's Little Village neighborhood on Saturday, June 29. A ...


Gay News

POETRY e nina jay aims to help women shed shame 2019-06-26 - e nina jay wants women to stop feeling shame. "I think about how much we, as girls and women, waste being ashamed," the ...


Gay News

ART Local lesbian artist on being banned from social media 2019-06-26 - Religious LGBTQ+ youth have a higher risk of suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Chicago artist ...


Gay News

FASHION Christopher Palu, 'Runway' alum talks designing for drag 2019-06-26 - JourneyCare Foundation is presenting for the first time an Allstars of Project Runway event with designers from the hit TV show. Five former ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Ryan Murphy, Billy Porter, Boy George, 'Queer Eye' 2019-06-25 - Ryan Murphy will direct and produce the feature adaptation of the Tony-nominated stage musical The Prom and has secured a cast that puts ...


Gay News

Video, other items released in Smollett case 2019-06-24 - On June 24, Chicago authorities released a video of embattled actor Jussie Smollett wearing a noose on Jan. 29, the night when he ...


Gay News

U.S. advances in World Cup on Rapinoe kicks 2019-06-24 - Megan Rapinoe scored on penalty kicks to give the United States a 2-1 win on June 24 over Spain to book a spot ...


Gay News

Artist fuses video, poetry to inspire psychedelic experience 2019-06-23 - Poet, new media and sound artist Sara Naomi Goodman will perform "Deep Dream: An Evening of Poetry and Video Synthesis" followed by a ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.