Black Lightning has become a popular show for a few reasons. One, it’s a good show that develops characters that aren’t just the main characters. Most shows will focus on a few characters forgetting how important it is to develop everyone. Second, a lot of fans didn’t know who Black Lightning was. This gave the writers the opportunity to explore the lore of the character without criticism. Third, the show makes it a point to focus on black issues and the culture without beating around the bush. Luke Cage was also like this, but not to the extent that Black Lightning goes.
The Abuse of the Black Man
In episode 1 season 1, one of the first scenes was Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) being pulled over by the cops. Not only was he doing nothing wrong, he didn’t fit the description of the person the police were looking for. He was slammed on the hood of his car in front of his daughters. Police brutality has been prevalent in the black community for years. While it’s been documented in the media now, this is nothing new. This isn’t the only time Black Lightning has shown something like this in their show.
During season 1 episode 11 (The Book of Crucifixion), Jefferson was arrested after evidence was planted on him by dirty cops. He was put into a police car in front of his daughters and all of the students who look up to him. Seeing Jefferson processed and dehumanized is something that happens to black people more than you may think. More than that, we are constantly falsely accused of crimes we didn’t commit. It’s also not a coincidence that this kept happening in front of his daughters. Another thing that happens a lot is these things happen in front of our loved ones. Dragged out of our homes for crimes we didn’t commit has been happening for decades. This isn’t just something to pull on the heartstrings of the viewers. These things actually happen.
On a different note, there is also the music. Funky songs fill the air when Black Lightning is in action. Tyrone Davis fills the show with love singing,
“Come here baby
Girl, I wanna make sweet love to you, oh oh
Honey sugar, it ain’t no telling what I’m gonna do
What a feeling, feeling good feeling like I never felt
Just like ice-cream, and honey my love is gonna make you melt”
As Jefferson and Lynn embrace for the first time in a long time. The music makes this show amazing. I may not like a lot of the new rap they play, but it always fits each scene perfectly. Music is a major part of our culture and the creators know this. Not just any song or genre of music would fit the scenes in this show.
The idea of family is an important part of our community. Cookouts, family gatherings, and Sunday dinners bring us together for love and laughter. Despite Jefferson and Lynn not being together they always made time to come together for their daughters. This could be one of the reasons that their kids were so confident. They may have seen their parents argue, but they never doubted they were loved. And even though Gambi wasn’t black and even though he may have held secrets from Jefferson, they always forgave him because he was always there. He showed them the same love that made them a loving family.
There are other examples of the unapologetic black moments of this show. You could take Tobias’ disdain for ignorant black people and how he talks bad about his people. Something that always seems to happen in the black community. Robert Townsend being allowed to use phrases like Uncle Tom and House Nigga are things I’d never expect from a show on the CW. Each show has a moment or two that gives people a glimpse into the life of a black person. I always anticipate watching the show wondering what they’ll do next.
What are your thoughts on the show? Let me know in the comments below!