From performing for audiences at Fullerton College to appearing in shows such as “Hart of Dixie” and “Prison Break”, former Hornet Cress Williams takes on the role of Jefferson Pierce, a high school principal and retired super hero known as Black Lightning.
Williams, in the role of Jefferson Pierce, is the principal of Garfield High School in the impoverished city of Freeland. Freeland, a city also heavily influenced by a gang known as the “100”, faces many social problems that cities today face in the real world.
“In the show we see the city deal with problems like police brutality and the “100”. The “100” is a gang, but it’s organized crime using fear and intimidation,” Williams stated.
Black Lightning may not be fighting criminal masterminds like Batman does, nor is he like “The Avengers” fighting villains from other galaxies, but Black Lightning protects his city from problems that many people deal with on a daily basis in society.
“Not everything can be about fighting Thanos and other aliens. I hope this sparks more of an evolution and inspires people,” Williams said while describing his role as DC Comics’ first African-American super hero.
Williams looks back on his time and the opportunities he earned at Fullerton College as a foundation for his passion and respect for acting and theater that he carries with him.
“The faculty had such a passion for theater and for teaching theater. They gave and taught me the respect I have for it today,” Williams added .
During his time at Fullerton College from 1988-92, Williams had roles in a number of campus produced plays. The most notable of them being “Othello” in 1990, a play that Williams was pre-casted for the lead role of “Othello”.
“They did that because they felt like I deserved the opportunity and they were right” Williams said.
The former Hornet goes from performing on the stages of Fullerton to being super hero with his own CW television series joining the likes of fellow DC comics shows like “Arrow”, “The Flash” and “Supergirl”.
“I think that ‘Black Lightning’ is ready to be received,” Williams added.
“Black Lightning” premieres at 9 p.m. on Tuesday Jan. 16 on “The CW”.