Interview: Nafessa Williams is Kicking Butts + Taking Names on CW’s Black Lighting

Photos: Ricky Codio

Nafessa Williams plays Anissa Pierce, Jefferson Pierce, AKA Black Lightning’s oldest daughter, who happens to have superpowers of her own.


If you want to know what powers she has, you’ll need to tune in every week to watch it unfold. Nafessa started acting on One Life to Live, and has been going strong ever since. Nafessa sat down with Glitter to discuss the show, her brand, “Saturday Dreaming” that she started with her best friend, her favorite places to travel, and the top five on her Spotify list.


Photos: Ricky Codio


GLITTER: Where did you grow up and what were you into as a child that led you into acting?

NAFESSA: I grew up in West Philly in the same neighborhood as Will Smith. Will was actually a huge inspiration for wanting to become an actor. I looked at him and said if he can do it, so can I. I even found his acting coach (Aaron Speiser) and studied with him when I first moved to LA. I loved watching tv as a kid. I was writing my own TV guide as a reminder to watch my favorite shows. I wanted to be Rudy Huxtable. She was a brown girl who looked like me. The Cosby Show is where my love for TV and acting began.


GLITTER: What was your first big break?

NAFESSA: My first break was the soap opera, One Life to Live, I booked a series regular role, and this gave me the confidence to keep going.


GLITTER: What were some of the highlights working on your role in Netflix’s Burning Sands?

NAFESSA: My character Toya in Burning Sands was a really fun and wild friend but also really smart so I enjoyed playing her. Also, the cast had a lot of fun shooting together, those guys are like family.


GLITTER: What does it mean to you to be a part of the Black Lighting cast featuring the first black super hero family on network TV?

NAFESSA: This Black Lightning experience means everything to me. I’m honored to be a part of history. I didn’t have a black female superhero to look up to as a kid, so to be that representation for little black girls is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. We’ve also never seen a black lesbian superhero until now so again I’m honored to be the first and hopefully make way for more lesbian superheroes.


To read the FULL interview, make sure to download the latest issue here.