Black Lightning had a strong debut on The CW last night with the long-awaited DC Comics series that gave the network its premiere more strong in two years. But while the public was eager to see high school principal Jefferson Pierce return to his heroic Black Lightning identity to save his family from the threat of a vicious gang, there were two special appearances by real-life activists carefully placed in the episode.
Nina Turner, state senator from Ohio and founder of Our Revolution, as well as journalist and commentator Roland Martin, appeared as themselves in Black Lightning in their first episode, "The Resurrection." Turner appeared during the first act of the show, presenting Jefferson in a fundraiser for his school, Garfield High. A little later in the episode, Martin appeared on a news program that runs in the background of some scenes, talking about the importance of Black Lightning and commenting on the inequality of even the superheroes in Black Lightning & # 39; s world. Martin points out that other cities have heroes, but Black Lightning African American of Freeland is treated like a criminal.
Although the appearance of Turner and Martin might be a little surprising for the viewers, it fits with the authenticity that the series creator Salim Akil promised by Black Lightning . Akil told reporters during the press conference of the Association of Television Critics 2018 that the creation of an authentic series was paramount and personal to him.
"I just pulled out of my life," Akil said. "Jefferson is already a community-based superhero, he's already a director, he's already a father, he gave me the opportunity to talk about things that were personal to me, I grew up in a community like Freeland, surrounded by those things that you see in Freeland and in Chicago and Oakland, it came naturally, it was not a choice made of, "Hey, this is what we want to say." It came out of the choice of "This is what I know, and this It is what we know, so let's do what is real. Let's do what is authentic and real to me, "which I think everyone embraces, I appreciate it, it's very personal for me."
And the authentic and personal touches to Black Lightning extend far beyond the appearances of Turner and Martin. The intense scene of the traffic stop in the opening of the first episode was based on the own life of Akil and, like the problems that represents the scene, was something that told ComicBook.com that it was important to speak from the beginning .
"There were discussions, because it was very intense, but there were never any discussions in which we do not want you to do this," said Akil. "It was more like helping us understand why, in the first episode, in the first few minutes … And I felt it was important to talk about all the things we were talking about."
Black Lightning airs on Tuesdays at 9 / 8c after the new episodes of The Flash on The CW.