When Mara Brock Akil first began her career, there was no way to predict the huge impact that she would make on the industry. Now, with multiple successfully run shows under her belt and over 20 years of experience behind her, you can’t mention her name without revealing true admiration for her artistry. Though she has been painting a relatable image of Black women since the arrival of Girlfriends in 2000, Akil revealed on Friday afternoon at ESSENCE Festival 2017 that her upcoming production, Black Lightning, will give Black men the opportunity to experience her thunder full throttle.
“What we want to do is put Black men and the Black family back at the center,” she began. “A lot of the other shows have been led through the view of Black women, so it’s time to place the Black male back and give him a voice at the table. We have to take back the image of Black men raising their families.”
Akil, who referred to the production as an exciting vision of her husband Salim, went on to divulge a little more about the television adaptation of the 1970s DC Comics character. “Black Lightning by day is Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) and he is a principal of a school. So, he’s helping to save lives that way,” she said. “But at night, some of the problems are just too much and he’s got to put on a suit and kick some ass and that’s sometimes our own. He’s a hero and symbol of hope and a hope for a community that’s sort of been left behind.”
Jefferson Pierce won’t be the only character in the show serving as a symbol of hope though. According to Akil, his two daughters will also show off their Black girl magic. “His daughters will have powers,” she said. “So, two young Black girls are going to be in a superhero suit. The empowerment that we have to help, save, and be the hope in our own lives is what Black Lightning is all about.”
Black Lightning is scheduled to air on the CW at the top of 2018.