Everyone Is OBSESSED With The Black Lesbian Superhero On The New TV Show 'Black Lightning'
5 February 2018, 16:24 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 14:40
Anissa Pierce is the badass lesbian superhero that fans DESERVE.
Amid the uptick of television shows based in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the CW has doubled down on DC rooted content with its newest superhero offering, Black Lightning.
via CW/Black Lightning
The show, which is the first to feature a black superhero family on network television, can likely also claim the first black superhero lesbian in prime time.
Fans of the show aren't just drawn to the drama of semi-retired vigilante hero, Jefferson Pierce. His daughter Anissa is a smart, tough medical student who eventually becomes the hero, Thunder.
Oh yeah, and she happens to be a lesbian.
In a space that has been traditionally dominated by straight, white, male superheroes, Anissa proves to be a stand out in more ways than one.
This isn't just a diversity play. In the comics, Anissa is also a lesbian and audiences are pleased to see her brought to life on screen. Contrast that with last year's re-imagining of Riverdale's Jughead Jones as straight (instead of asexual) and you can see that the CW definitely deserve their roses for keeping Anissa true to her comic book self.
Viewers are, so far, enamored with the character.
They've even noticed that the dynamics of her relationships suit a more evolved representation of what it means to be "out" to your family in 2018.
The actress who plays Anissa, Nafessa Williams, spoke to Teen Vogue about the importance of her character. "Not even just black lesbians, just young lesbians want to see more of themselves on TV and show what the life of a lesbian is like. You're gonna go on that journey with Anissa. It's also cool because my parents on the show, they're very accepting and open about my sexuality. I hope that parents watching are inspired to support their lesbian or gay child."
Like black pain, the struggles of LGBTQ+ characters tend to be commodified on screen for storytelling purposes. These characters are often being kicked out of their homes for being gay, being vilified by classmates, or struggling to come out to their friends and family. These scenarios are 100% a reality for so many gay and lesbian young people, but it's not their only reality.
For many viewers, it's important to see a black lesbian character who isn't in constant turmoil and emotional pain. Anissa has agency and a strong sense of self. She also has kick ass powers, a family that love and accept her, and a nuanced love life that includes on screen intimacy. Clearly, we're breaking ground here.
Anissa may just be one character on television, but she's breaking down barriers and audiences already love her.