The actress hopes youngsters can see themselves on television through her portrayal.
'Black Lightning' has made quite the positive impression following its debut on The CW in the US and Netflix in the UK. The superhero series is one set apart from its fellow network superhero shows that make up the 'Arrowverse', but is already doing well to establish itself as an entirely different entity.
Nafessa Williams recognises how important her role in 'Black Lightning' truly is
Telling stories that haven't yet been told on the small screen, and allowing people of colour to take the lead for the first time in a show of this type, a lot hangs on the shoulders of those involved with 'Black Lightning'. It's something that showrunner Salim Akil has spoken about in the past, and something that the cast members of the series are also hugely aware of.
One of those cast members is Nafessa Williams, who plays the titular hero's daughter Anissa Pierce in the show. Having to deal with the fact that she's also got superpowers, she's treading a path that's utterly unique to those we've seen before. Anissa is not only superhuman, she's a young black lesbian. Though that's something easier to deal with in the modern world, it's still something that's important to represent properly on television.
Speaking with EW, the actress said: "I’m just really grateful to tell the story for young lesbians — and black lesbians in particular — who don’t really see themselves on TV. My hope is that when you watch Anissa, a young lesbian is inspired to walk boldly as who she is and to love herself and to love herself exactly how she looks."
Williams also spoke about relating to the character on a personal level, explaining: "I think what I can relate to in Anissa is that she’s aware of her calling. She walks in it fearlessly. I have that aspect of myself of just knowing what I want from life. I was always very clear of what my dreams were and I’ve always had the vision, and nobody was ever able to stop me."
The passion Williams has both for her character and doing the real-life audience justice is truly something to be admired. Her performance in the series to this point has been a good one, and we imagine it will be going from strength to strength.
Here's to a brighter and more positive, inclusive future, with characters like Anissa becoming more and more mainstream.
'Black Lightning' continues Tuesdays in the US on The CW and comes to Netflix in the UK every Wednesday the day after.