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Black lesbian superhero marks change in TV

REPRESENTATION: Nafessa Williams as 'Thunder' a.k.a 'Anissa Pierce' (Photo credit: CW)

NAFESSA WILLIAMS (Thunder), stars alongside Cress Williams (Black Lightning), China Anne McClain (Lightning), Christine Adams (Lynn Pierce) as CW’s first ever black superhero tv show, hit screens last Tuesday (Jan 16).

The character of Thunder, whose real name in the show is Anissa Pierce, is one groundbreaking black woman. Thanks to her superhuman father, Anissa developed meta-human abilities of her own. She debuted her powers at the end of the first episode and the TV star has said that being in the show is “timely and necessary”.

With this being the first black superhero family to be aired on primetime television, it is a big step forward in the name of diversity and inclusivity. When Williams spoke at the San Diego Comic-Con, she said: “We need it. It’s been way too long”. She spoke about portraying this character as an “honour”.

However, the celebrations don’t stop there. They have also given her character an LGBTQ storyline, which fans are ecstatic about. Mirroring the comic, Anissa Pierce will have a love interest. The actress tweeted “Ready for a black lesbian superhero?! #GetReady #GetLit #BlackLightning”.

When speaking to Comic Book Resources, she stated: “Anissa’s character… is pretty unique. She’s a lesbian, so little girls are going to be able to look up and be like, ‘Okay, I’m like her and hopefully my parents will accept me the way her parents accepted her.’

Grace Choi, half Amazonian and Asian-American played by Chantal Thuy, who is an Asian-Canadian actress, plays Pierce’s girlfriend. She too has meta-human abilities. Keeping to the comic, Choi is bisexual, so it’s very likely they will integrate this part of her identity into the show.

This is a huge step for DC and Marvel; having two queer women of colour as superheroes. The show has also casted an albino villain, played by Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III, showcasing their desire to increase diverse representations and perspectives to intergrate into the show. There aren’t many albino actors or actresses on our screens as there should be and hopefully this exposure will usher more actors, like Jones III, into the limelight.

This long-awaited show has everyone, not only excited but invested. Viewers went on social media to express their pleasure.

‘I’m living for #BlackLightning. Five minutes into it and I’m already in love with this show y’all. No more seeing me on Tuesdays for two hours. ✌????????⚡️’ one viewer wrote.

Another said ‘He shot him with a harpoon! Tobias is already making a scene. ???? #BlackLightning’.

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