Actress Nafessa Williams Pushes Hollywood to Confront Inequality in a Personal Essay

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The Black Lightning star called on Hollywood to “confront the issues of inequality head-on.”

Nafessa Williams is speaking out. On The CW’s Black Lightning, the actress made history as television’s first Black, lesbian superhero: However, her character’s strength and courage are hardly just an act. In a personal essay penned for E! News, the Philadelphia native detailed her experience with the Black Lives Matter movement and her fight against inequality in Hollywood.

Nafessa opened her essay with a quote from the late politician and civil-rights leader John Lewis: “I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way to get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble.”

The actress went on to say that she felt like she was causing “good trouble” through her Black Lightning character. She explained that she thought it stressed the importance of representation and inclusion in the media. But even though Williams has had the opportunity to experience this inclusion first-hand by working on a show with an all-Black cast, producers, writers, and crew, she acknowledges that there aren’t many shows that are this inclusive.

“We have to make sure we hire more Black writers to tell Black stories. We need Black hairstylists who know how to do Black hair properly. And award shows can only be fairly judged if done by a diverse group. We as a people and as a culture are beyond tired of asking to be seen, heard, and treated equally. Not just in the entertainment industry, but in all industries.”

In her closing statement, the actress called on Hollywood to “confront the issues of inequality head-on” and warned that if it does not do so, it will be failing to take “advantage of the awakened moment we are living in.” She also cautioned about the dangers of making diversity a “trend.” She ended her essay with this final sentiment: “I believe there’s a shift happening and I hope, collectively, we change the narrative of what we’ve known Hollywood to be.”

This isn’t the first time Williams has used her voice to spread awareness about Black Lives Matter and call for action. Ever since the resurgence of the movement, the actress has been active on Instagram, encouraging her audience to fight for justice and equality for members of the Black community that were victims of police brutality such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

 

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We deadass can’t let up. Swipe and let’s blow up these phone numbers and emails!!!! #BreonnaTaylor

A post shared by Nafessa Williams (@nafessawilliams) on

We are so proud to see Williams speaking out for what she believes in, and we hope her fans and other stars in Hollywood amplify her voice to help continue spreading awareness.