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Why ‘Black Lightning’ Could Be The CW’s Redemption

The new hit series is dripping with representation

Black Lightning -- "LaWanda: The Book of Burial" -- Image BLK103a_0550.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce and Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi -- Photo: Carin Baer/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Now I know already most of you are reading this headline and rolling your eyes, but if there’s one thing I’ve always said and stuck by, it is that you’ve got to be willing to give (and receive) second chances. With that being said, I have been probably one of the most vocal critics of the CW Network over the years for their blatant disregard and repeated disrespect against several minority groups perpetuated on screen.

On that note, I was one of many TV/Comic fans who were hesitant (to say the least) as news for the CW’s brand new show, Black Lightning was released. I struggled with the thought of putting my faith into another series and the fear of being heartbroken and let down due to a lack of writing skills, plot holes or (yet another) Bury Your Gays Trope. Thankfully, the cast of Black Lightning took to social media to preach about the importance of diversity and representation in media, the biggest advocate being Nafessa Williams.

Maybe it was Nafessa’s advocacy and adamant stance that Black Lightning wouldn’t disappoint, or maybe it was the deep core-ridden optimism I’d hate to have, but I gave Black Lightning a chance, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.

Not only is the show featuring a (pretty much) all-black cast, the LGBTQ2IA+ community gets to have their chance to shine with Nafessa Williams’ character, Anissa Pierce (aka Thunder). Anissa Pierce is canonically a black lesbian superhero, and her sexuality is completely normalized within the series. We don’t have to sit through a stereotypical “coming out” storyline, or dealing with disapproving parents, and we just get to see Anissa as she is, waking up in bed with her (Spoiler Alert) girlfriend.

Now, as a comic fan, I know that in the comics Anissa Pierce has her soulmate and Amazonian lover, Grace Choi. So you can understand my surprise when we got to see Anissa wake up with her girlfriend who was not Grace. Yadda yadda yadda, it was announced that in episode three, Grace would make her debut, and it was legendary.

What does Black Lightning hold for the future of The CW and its reputation? I would like to think that having a black lesbian superhero and her bisexual Asian girlfriend kick-ass while dealing with themes of poverty, police brutality, racism and many other real-world situations is definitely a step in the right direction. But hey, I can’t speak for everyone, so sound off in the comments on what The CW can do to earn your forgiveness (if anything at all).

Black Lightning airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on The CW.

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Written by Matthew Reid

Matthew Reid is a 20 year old Canadian student majoring in Television and Video Production. He is a self proclaimed intersectional feminist, comic-book geek, and avid baby carrot enthusiast.

— Contact him at matthewreid9@hotmail.com