Metro Weekly

The CW’s “Black Lightning” features a black lesbian superhero

Thunder is the crime-fighting LGBTQ hero we need

Nafessa Williams as Thunder — Photo: The CW

The CW is set to bring a new, kick-ass superhero family to our screens. Black Lightning is based on the eponymous DC comic book character, real name Jefferson Pierce, who fights crime with superhuman abilities that grant control over electricity.

The show will feature Pierce, played by Cress Williams, and his two daughters, Jennifer (China Anne McClain) and Anissa (Nafessa Williams).

Pierce will find himself forced back into crime-fighting nine years after he gave up it up to focus on his family and his career, when his daughters find themselves caught up with a local gang.

And its his daughters who threaten to steal the limelight. While Jennifer — Lightning, to use her hero name — has electric abilities like her dad and the power of flight, it’s Anissa — or Thunder — that has everyone talking.

Not only can she become temporarily invulnerable and generate massive shockwaves, she’s also an out and proud lesbian, both in the comics and in the CW show.

And her sexuality won’t just be a passing reference, as Anissa will also get a love interest, in the form of half-Amazonian, Asian-American character Grace Choi, played by Chantal Thuy. Choi is bisexual in the comics.

“I think right now, it’s timely and it’s necessary,” Williams said last year at San Diego Comic Con, about Black Lightning featuring the first black superhero family on network TV. “We need it. It’s been way too long. I didn’t have a black superhero to look up to as a little girl.”

That timeliness is evident on Twitter, where users are going crazy over both the importance of having a character of color who is also LGBTQ, and the reveal of Thunder’s awesome costume.

Black Lightning will premier Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. on The CW.

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.