Black Lightning: Why This Hero Couldn’t Strike at a Better Time

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Imagine being a student and finding out that the guy responsible for writing your detentions moonlights as a superhero who absorbs electricity and can hurl it into lightning bolts.  That might make any kid think twice about ditching homeroom or mouthing off to the teacher.  Sounds a little scary, but kick ass too, right?  Well, the CW’s new live action drama Black Lightning sounds extremely kick ass to me. And what makes this superhero show even sicker is that its titular character is African-American.

Heroes can come in all colors, shapes, and sizes of course, but Black Lightning is one of the first black major comic book characters and the first black character to star in his own comic book series.  Created by Tony Isabella for DC Comics, Black Lightning was a ground breaking creation in the 1970s. Thanks to the talents of Mara and Salim Akil and Greg Berlanti, Black Lightning will break ground again as the first television show to feature a family of black superheroes.  At a time when people of color are being vilified by those who are charged to uplift and protect us, this character can provide a different narrative of the black man and his family-the narrative often missed that says we love, we laugh, we are just, we sacrifice, and we will often walk through the fire for those we love.

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Starring Cress Williams, Black Lightning will follow the life of Jefferson Pierce and his family as they navigate an increasingly violent city being overrun by a street gang.  Choosing to hang up his superhero suit for the sake of his family, Jefferson becomes a high school principal instead of a metahuman savior.  Because a true hero can never rest, Jefferson will once again don the Black Lightning suit to mix it up with the bad guys.  While Jefferson is battling in the streets as Black Lightning, his two daughters are set to fight some tough battles of their own. So not only do we get superhero action, we get some good ole’ family drama as well.

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I am smiling from ear to ear as I write this. For a nerdy black girl like me, there is no better time to be a superhero fan.  I have been delighted for the past few months. On the big screen I’ve enjoyed Thor and Justice League (well, everything except Superman’s nightmare of a mustache), and on the small screen my swoon worthy Flash faves Barry and Iris finally jumped the broom (a little side eye to Oliver and Felicity, though they’re likable enough too).  For the next few months, I had planned to twiddle my thumbs a bit waiting to be carted off to Wakanda for Black Panther and to the galaxies for the new Avengers.  Now, there’s no need to twiddle. Black Lightning has given me something a little closer to heart and home to root for.

Black Lightning is set to premiere on the CW network on January 16th at 9/8c.

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