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Where else you've seen the cast of Black Lightning

Jefferson Pierce thought his days as a superhero were done. Nine years ago, he was Black Lightning, a hero with the power to control electricity. But fighting injustice took a toll on his family and he decided to retire, slipping into a normal life as a charter school principal in the town of Freeland. That all changes when a local gang kidnaps his daughters, forcing him to take up the mantle of Black Lightning once more.

While the superhero genre has gotten quite popular over the past decade or so, Black Lightning offers something different: grounding in the real world, and a front-and-center emphasis on family ties. And while everyone is already familiar with Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman, there are plenty of Marvel and DC fans who haven't heard of Black Lightning –  his world, allies, and foes are a breath of fresh air. But even if you didn't know the characters before, you may already know the actors who portray them. Here's where you've already seen the Black Lightning cast members over the years.

Cress Williams

Cress Williams stars as Jefferson Pierce in Black Lightning. He's a family man and working professional who just so happens to have a double life as a former superhero. Williams has appeared in films, but throughout most of his career, he's been a television actor first. Chances are, in fact, that you've seen Williams on your TV screen before. He's appeared in plenty of popular TV shows, having gotten his career off the ground in the 1990s with roles on shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Living Single. In 1999, he played George in the classic romantic comedy Never Been Kissed.

If you like medical dramas, you've also probably caught Williams on ER, Grey's Anatomy, or Code Black – or maybe you saw him playing Wyatt in his recurring role on Prison Break. More recently, he had a supporting role as Lavon Hayes on the romantic drama Hart of Dixie. When he started out on 90210, Williams might have never imagined that he'd have a starring role as a superhero one day, but he was perfectly cast on Black Lightning.

China Anne McClain

Jefferson Pierce isn't the only one in the Pierce family with superpowers — his daughter Jennifer, played by China Anne McClain, is also mastering the art of manipulating electricity. She joins up with her father as a vigilante, going by the name Lightning.

If you're a fan of Tyler Perry, McClain probably looks quite familiar. One of her earliest roles was working as an extra in Madea's Family Reunion, and clearly, Perry noticed her talent – she was later cast as Jazmine Payne in the TV series House of Payne and Payne Family Reunion.

After playing Charlotte McKenzie in Grown Ups (a role she returned to in Grown Ups 2), McClain landed recurring roles on Disney shows like J.O.N.A.S. and Wizards of Waverly Place. She became a genuine Disney Channel star when she scored the leading role on the show A.N.T. Farm, playing the young musical prodigy Chyna Parks. As she furthered her career with the Disney Channel, McClain became a part of the Descendants franchise: she voiced Freddie in the series Descendants: Wicked World, and went on to play Uma in Descendants 2 and Descendants 3. With her role as Jennifer Pierce on Black Lightning, she's breaking new ground and moving into a more mature phase of her career.

Nafessa Williams

Jefferson's oldest daughter, Anissa, is a brilliant medical student — and she's also got superhuman strength, durability, and the ability to alter her own density. She's played by Nafessa Williams, who is proud to portray the first black lesbian superhero on a television show.

Williams actually began her career in a very different genre. When she started acting, she broke into the world of soap operas. Her very first role was on the soap One Life to Live, where she played Deanna Forbes. She also had a small role on The Bold and the Beautiful.

Since her soap opera days, she's moved on to different roles. For instance, if you happened to catch the Twin Peaks revival, you might remember Williams as Jade, a sex worker who got tangled up in the mystery of Laura Palmer's disappearance. And because Hollywood is such a small world, this isn't the first time that Williams has appeared on a show with Cress Williams: Both actors had roles in the drama Code Black. Playing Anissa has probably been Williams' biggest role to date, and she's proven that she's ready to take on new challenges as an actor in the future.

Christine Adams

Why did Jefferson decide to give up his superhero status in the first place? His ex-wife Lynn Stewart, played by Christine Adams, felt that he had put his vigilante activities above everything else. The couple split up and remain on good terms, with Lynn still fully aware of his secrets.

This isn't the first time that Adams has appeared in a superhero production. In fact, if you're a big fan of superhero movies, you might find that she looks vaguely familiar: Back in 2005, she played Jessica in Batman Begins and went on to play Agent Weaver on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2019. Adams also had a small recurring role as Simone Hundin on the unique fantasy drama Pushing Daisies, and is likely most well-known for appearing on Terra Nova as Mira, a rebel lost in the past. 2020's Shrine, which tells the story of a journalist investigating a strange series of events in a tiny New England town, is new territory for the actress — but we're pretty sure she's up to the challenge.

Marvin "Krondon" Jones III

Marvin "Krondon" Jones III was expertly cast as Tobias Whale, the primary villain in the Black Lightning universe. He's the leader of The 100, the most intimidating gang in Freeland, and has always been Black Lightning's main nemesis.

Jones had a supporting role in the movie Harry's Law, and you might recognize the sound of his voice from 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, in which he played Tombstone. But unlike many of the other Black Lightning cast members, there's a good chance that you haven't seen Jones in a film or TV show before. Tobias Whale is his first major role, and it marks a big transition in his career direction: Jones has primarily worked as a musician. Jones is a member of the hip hop group Strong Arm Steady, and has also put out solo work, like his debut album Everything's Nothing, under the name KRNDN. Perhaps his experience playing Tobias will prompt him to seek out more acting roles in the future.

Damon Gupton

Bill Henderson, played by Damon Gupton, is a skilled detective who finds himself at odds with Black Lightning — but as two continue to work together, they realize that they're far better off as allies than as enemies.

Over the past few years, Gupton has appeared in several other popular TV shows, often playing detectives and police officers. Maybe there's some typecasting at play here, but if you've seen him play Henderson, you can't deny that he's definitely cut out for this kind of role.

On The Divide, Gupton starred as Adam Page, a district attorney who had to investigate a reopened murder case. He also had a recurring role on the drama Empire as Detective Calvin Walker. In Goliath, he played the lawyer Leonard Letts, but on Bates Motel, he changed things up and played Dr. Gregg Edwards, a doctor who attempts to help Norman Bates. More recently, Gupton appeared in Criminal Minds, where he had a short-lived role as Special Agent Stephen Walker. There's no doubt that Gupton has found his niche as an actor.

James Remar

Not every superhero has a mentor, but Black Lightning found one in his father's old friend Peter Gambi, played by James Remar. After Jefferson's father passed away, Gambi took Jefferson under his wing — he even makes supersuits for his entire family.

Although Remar isn't a household name, he's actually been working in Hollywood for decades and has quite the resume. While he's appeared in a wide variety of movies and TV shows, he's best known for his supporting roles as Harry Morgan on Dexter and Jonah Prowse on Jericho.

Remar has also worked with Quentin Tarantino on several occasions. You might have spotted him as Butch Pooch in Django Unchained, or as Ugly Owl Hoot on the set of the fictional TV show Bounty Law in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And if you enjoy animation, you might be wondering where you've heard his voice before. Remar voiced Vilgax on Ben 10 and Tonraq on Legend of Korra. Shortly before joining the cast of Black Lightning, he also had recurring roles on shows like Magnum P.I., City on a Hill, and Animal Kingdom.

Jordan Calloway

It's can be dangerous for a superhero to fall in love, but that doesn't stop Jennifer from falling for Khalil Payne, played by Jordan Calloway. But Payne ends up getting into a troublesome alliance with Tobias Whale, and when he makes a deal with the devil, he ends up in more trouble than before.

Wondering why you're pretty sure you've seen Calloway on TV before, but you just can't quite place it? Think back to the days when you would head home from school and turn on classic Nickelodeon shows like Unfabulous – you may remember Calloway as Zach Carter-Schwartz, Addie's best friend who loved basketball and wanted to save the planet.

What has Calloway been up to in the years since Unfabulous? He had a supporting role on the Hulu show Freakish, which followed a group of high school students fighting back against violent mutants that take over their town in the aftermath of an accident at a chemical plant. He also played Chuck Clayton on Riverdale.

Chantal Thuy

Grace Choi, played by Chantal Thuy, is more than just a superhero — she's also a shapeshifter, and she's living in Freeland under a fake name. But when her emotions are running high, she risks exposing her secret. This poses a dilemma when she falls hard for Anissa and starts dating her. Talk about a complicated relationship.

Thuy kicked off her acting career with performances in several short films. Eventually, she landed a bit part as Jackie on Pretty Little Liars. She had another guest spot as Nhung Chuang on Madam Secretary. Before appearing on Black Lightning, she played Kim Wong in the miniseries Crossing the Rubicon.

Grace Choi is definitely Thuy's most well-known role to date, and it's the first time that she's had a long-term recurring role on a TV series. Thuy's career is starting to take off, and she's made it clear that she's got the acting chops to go beyond guest spots.

Bill Duke

Agent Percy Odell, played by Bill Duke, ends up in charge of the ASA, the organization responsible for turning some of the people of Freeland into "meta-humans" and giving them strange powers. He was brought in from Gotham to take control.

Back in the 1970s, Duke got his start in acting by appearing on a few of ABC's infamous Afterschool Specials. He went on to land small parts on popular TV shows like Starsky and Hutch and Charlie's Angels before securing a recurring role as Luther Freeman on Palmerstown, U.S.A.

Duke played Mac in the critically acclaimed science fiction film Predator, and you may have even noticed Duke as Caruthers in the experimental horror film Mandy. Recently, Duke also appeared in the Netflix film High Flying Bird, which tells the story of a fictional basketball league that takes matters into their own hands during a lockout. Behind the scenes, Duke is also a writer, producer, and director — in fact, he even directed an episode of The Twilight Zone. Duke is definitely a man of many talents, and he's eager to flex them all.

William Catlett

Latavius "Lala" Johnson, played by William Catlett, is a member of The 100 who ends up facing the wrath of Tobias Whale for his failure to defeat Black Lightning. But his death doesn't mean the end of him — in a strange series of events, he's resurrected, facing a very different life than the one he lead before.

Catlett is a jack of all trades in the film industry. When he's not in front of the camera, Catlett also works as a producer, writer, and director. He was the writer and producer behind the 2019 short film Malcolm, which explores what Malcolm X might say about politics and civil rights today. He played Charles on the TV series First, where he also worked to produce the first few episodes. In addition, he played Yasir on the series Love Is_, while writing the script for the episode "Supportive."

Clearly, Catlett likes to have lots of creative control over his projects, and he doesn't shy away from hard work. He's already wrapped up shooting for two new projects: the action film Force of Nature and the upcoming TV series Lovecraft County.

Clifton Powell

Jeremiah Holt, played by Clifton Powell, is a reverend in Freeland who wants to stand up The 100. Of course, doing so makes him a target — and he ends up facing threats that he never could have anticipated.

Powell began acting in the 1980s, but in the 1990s, he began to gain more recognition. He played Mason in the 1998 horror film Deep Rising, and that same year, he also played Luke in the comedy movie Rush Hour. Next up was his role as Pinky in the comedy Next Friday. But Powell actually took his career to new heights when he went down a different path and took on a part in a dramatic biopic. Powell's most prominent role became that of Ray Charles' manager Jeff Brown in the 2004 Academy Award-winning film Ray.

Powell has been quite busy lately. Since appearing on Black Lightning, he's taken on work in movies as wide-ranging as The Probe, The Available Wife, and Frank Chase in the Streets of Harlem.

Jennifer Riker

Jennifer Riker plays mad scientist Dr. Helga Jace, who has carried out some seriously unethical experiments in the past. Naturally, she's an old friend of Tobias Whale, and she's the creator of the anti-aging serum that helps him stay alive and withstand so many attacks.

Even if you were already familiar with other Black Lightning cast members, you might not have recognized Riker — although this certainly isn't her first role. Like many actors, she got her very first part as a minor character in an episode of Law & Order. Since then, she's had guest roles on shows like Numb3rs, Monk, and Castle. She even popped up as an extra on a few episodes of Mad Men. In recent years, she's had small roles on Nashville, House of Cards, and The Walking Dead.

Riker is just starting to land bigger roles, but based on her performance in Black Lightning, this is definitely not the last you'll see of her. For Riker, the best is yet to come.

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