Black Lightning's Nafessa Williams on playing TV's first black lesbian superhero
The groundbreaking actor explains why she's walking in her purpose as TV's first black lesbian superhero
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The first time Nafessa Williams suited up as Anissa/Thunder in The CW’s Black Lightning, she wept. She knew she was about to do something revolutionary. Saving the world would no longer be reserved for straight white men. She would show queer women and little girls of colour that they too could be superheroes. Nevertheless, nothing could prepare her for quite how seismic the impact would be. This groundbreaking series, depicting a black family with special powers protecting their city from threats, including police brutality, sex trafficking and gun violence, caught the imagination of millions of viewers. Thunder became our very own bold, beautiful, black superqueero. Now she’s back for round two, just in time for Black History Month, to inspire us once more.
DIVA: I’m so excited to talk to you. You’ve genuinely made history on this show and provided so many people with such a powerful role model. How do you feel about representing queer women of colour?
NAFESSA WILLIAMS: I’m honoured. Representation is really important, especially being a woman of colour in the entertainment industry and wanting to see more of us. This role takes it a step further. Now lesbians are able to see themselves. I’ve become an advocate for the LGBTQ community. It’s very important when we turn on the TV and watch movies that we see characters who look like us. I’m really walking in my purpose with this role. It feels amazing.
Read the rest of this interview in the October issue of DIVA, available now via the links below. Black Lightning season two starts 9 October on The CW. Watch the first season now on Netflix
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